Objective: To document rates of elevated depressive symptoms endorsed during routine screening for adolescents and young adults (AYA) with type 2 diabetes (T2D), review clinical actions taken in response to screening results, and evaluate associations of depressive symptoms with AYA characteristics.

Research Design and Methods: The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) was administered to 218 AYA with T2D using the PHQ-2 or PHQ-9 in routine pediatric diabetes care at 4 academic medical centers. Data from electronic health records were collected from the screening date and 12 months prior.

Results: The mean age was 16.77 (SD 2.10 years); 56% male; 74% non-Hispanic White; Mean T2D duration 3.48 (SD 2.51 years). On the PHQ, 21.6% of AYA with T2D endorsed elevated depressive symptoms (PHQ score≥10) and 15.2% endorsed thoughts of self-harm. Older age, shorter T2D duration, not on insulin, and more blood glucose checks per day were significantly associated with more depressive symptoms. Of those AYAs endorsing the harm-to-self item, 8.3% were in mental health treatment. For AYAs expressing harm-to-self who were not in treatment (91.7%),18.2% did not have a documented referral for mental health treatment in the medical record.

Conclusions: Screening for depressive symptoms identifies individuals in need of referral for mental health treatment; however, a focus on self-harm assessment, standardized methods for documentation of symptoms, mental health referrals and increased referral resources are needed.


J.Y. Stone: None. S.A. Mulvaney: None. C.A. Mara: None. J.C. Kichler: None. S. Majidi: Advisory Panel; Self; Companion Medical. K.A. Driscoll: None. S.C. Westen: None. A. Rawlinson: None. L.M. Jacobsen: None. K.K. Hood: Research Support; Self; Dexcom, Inc. Speaker’s Bureau; Self; LifeScan, Inc., MedIQ. M. Monaghan: Research Support; Self; American Diabetes Association. R.N. Adams: Employee; Self; Virta Health Corp.


National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1TR002243, UL1TR001427)

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