Specific Dimensions of Depression Have Different Associations With Cognitive Decline in Older Adults With Type 2 Diabetes

Laili Soleimani, Ramit Ravona-Springer, Hung Mo Lin, Xiaoyu Liu, Mary Sano, Anthony Heymann, Michal Schnaider Beeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Depression is highly frequent in older adults with type 2 diabetes and is associated with cognitive impairment, yet little is known about how various depression dimensions differentially affect cognition. We investigated longitudinal associations of specific depression dimensions with cognitive decline. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Participants (N 5 1,002) were from the Israel Diabetes and Cognitive Decline study, were ‡65 years of age, had type 2 diabetes, and were not experiencing dementia at baseline. Participants underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological battery at baseline and every 18 months thereafter, including domains of episodic memory, attention/working memory, semantic categorization/language, and executive function, and Z-scores of each domain were averaged and further normalized to calculate global cognition. Depression items from the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale were measured at each visit and subcategorized into five dimensions: dysphoric mood, withdrawal-apathy-vigor (entitled apathy), anxiety, hopelessness, and memory complaint. Random coefficients models examined the association of depression dimensions with baseline and longitudinal cognitive functioning, adjusting for sociodemographics and baseline characteristics, including cardiovascular risk factors, physical activity, and use of diabetes medications. RESULTS In the fully adjusted model at baseline, all dimensions of depression, except for anxiety, were associated with some aspect of cognition (P values from 0.01 to <0.001). Longitudinally, greater apathy scores were associated with faster decline in executive function (P 5 0.004), a result that withstood adjustment for multiple comparisons. Associations of other depression dimensions with cognitive decline were not significant (P > 0.01). CONCLUSIONS Apathy was associated with a faster cognitive decline in executive function. These findings highlight the heterogeneity of depression as a clinical construct rather than as a single entity and point to apathy as a specific risk factor for cognitive decline among older adults with type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-662
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021


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