Psychological effects of prevention: Do participants of a type 2 diabetes prevention program experience increased mental distress?

Department of Internal Medicine VI: Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Tuebingen, Germany.
Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews (Impact Factor: 3.55). 01/2009; 25(1):83-8. DOI: 10.1002/dmrr.917
Source: PubMed


To evaluate the mental health outcome of a lifestyle intervention for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and to exclude possible harmful psychological effects.
There is little empirical data on potential harmful effects of prevention programs. However, information, education, diagnostic procedures, phenotyping and risk assessment may cause or intensify psychological distress such as anxiety, depression or somatization in vulnerable individuals.
The Tuebingen Lifestyle Intervention Program (TULIP) for the prevention of type 2 diabetes has assessed mental health outcome in the participants after 9 months of program participation using the Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R). The 24-months lifestyle intervention TULIP comprises regular exercise and changes in nutrition and assesses both, a broad range of somatic parameters as well as psychometric variables. For an interim analysis of psychological outcome, complete data sets of the SCL-90-R assessed at baseline and after 9 months of intervention were available for 195 participants (125 females, 70 males; age: 46.1 +/- 10.6 years). Data on somatization, anxiety, depression and overall psychological distress were compared to baseline levels.
SCL-90-R scores of the TULIP-participants did not significantly differ from the German healthy reference population. Compared to baseline, a significant decrease in SCL-90-R scores was found for anxiety, depression and overall psychological distress at re-assessment after 9 months.
The interim analysis on mental health outcome of a type 2 diabetes prevention program comprising extensive phenotyping and risk assessment rules out adverse psychological effects, suggesting rather beneficial changes concerning symptoms of anxiety, depression and overall psychological distress.

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    • "Individuals with worsening glucose metabolism, such as in diabetes, report higher levels of symptom distress (Symptom Checklist DSC-R 10) than those with IGT or normal glucose metabolism [19]. Giel et al. [20] evaluated the mental health outcome of a lifestyle intervention by Symptom Checklist-90-R. After 9 months, the result suggests rather beneficial changes concerning symptoms of anxiety, depression, and overall psychological distress in people attending the prevention program. "
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