Depression, Neighborhood Deprivation and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A diabetic woman checks her sugar levels on a glucose meter.

The Issue:

Neighborhood characteristics have been associated with both depression and type 2 diabetes. However, research has not examined thoroughly whether the association between depression and diabetes differs across neighborhoods. This study specifically looked at the relationship between depression, neighborhood deprivation, and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Key Findings

  • Over the seven-year follow-up period, there were 27,894 incident cases of type 2 diabetes (8.2%).

  • The incidence of type 2 diabetes was higher among those with a lifetime history of major depression as compared to those who had never been diagnosed with major depression.

  • The incidence of type 2 diabetes increased as neighborhood deprivation increased, whether or not there was a history of major depression

  • Depression was significantly associated with risk of type 2 diabetes, after accounting for demographic, individual-level socioeconomic, and health characteristics.


The prevalence of diabetes has increased worldwide over the past 20 years. Understanding the relationship between diabetes and depression, and how both individual and neighborhood-level factors impact their prevalence, is important in addressing social and health disparities.

About the Study:

The current study is a prospective study of 336,340 adults aged 30 and older from a nationally representative sample of primary care centers in Sweden. Data is from 2001 to 2007.