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Background: Diabetes and diabetes-related complications are major causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Depressive symptoms and perceived stress have been identified as possible risk factors for beta cell dysfunction and diabetes. The purpose of this study was to assess associations between depression symptoms and perceived stress with beta cell function between African and Haitian Americans with and without type 2 diabetes. Participants and Methods: Informed consent and data were available for 462 participants (231 African Americans and 231 Haitian Americans) for this cross-sectional study. A demographic questionnaire developed by the Primary Investigator was used to collect information regarding age, gender, smoking, and ethnicity. Diabetes status was determined by self-report and confirmed by fasting blood glucose. Anthropometrics (weight, and height and waist circumference) and vital signs (blood pressure) were taken. Blood samples were drawn after 8 10 hours over-night fasting to measure lipid panel, fasting plasma glucose and serum insulin concentrations. The homeostatic model assessment, version 2 (HOMA2) computer model was used to calculate beta cell function. Depression was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and stress levels were assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Results: Moderate to severe depressive symptoms were more likely for persons with diabetes (p = 0.030). There were no differences in perceived stress between ethnicity and diabetes status (p = 0.283). General linear models for participants with and without type 2 diabetes using beta cell function as the dependent variable showed no association with depressive symptoms and perceived stress; however, Haitian Americans had significantly lower beta cell function than African Americans both with and without diabetes and adjusting for age, gender, waist circumference and smoking. Further research is needed to compare these risk factors in other race/ethnic groups.

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Originally published in the Journal of Diabetes Mellitus.



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