A systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between depression and insulin resistance

Carol Kan, Naomi Silva, Sherita Hill Golden, Ulla Rajala, Markku Timonen, Daniel Stahl, Khalida Ismail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

252 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Depression is associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies, controlled trials, and unpublished data was conducted to examine the association between depression and insulin resistance (IR).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Medline, EMBASE, and PsycINFO were searched for studies published up to September 2011. Two independent reviewers assessed the eligibility of each report based on predefined inclusion criteria (study design and measure of depression and IR, excluding prevalent cases of diabetes). Individual effect sizes were standardized, and a meta-analysis was performed to calculate a pooled effect size using random effects. Subgroup analyses and meta-regression were conducted to explore any potential source of heterogeneity between studies.

RESULTS: Of 967 abstracts reviewed, 21 studies met the inclusion criteria of which 18 studies had appropriate data for the meta-analysis (n = 25,847). The pooled effect size (95% CI) was 0.19 (0.11-0.27) with marked heterogeneity (I(2) = 82.2%) using the random-effects model. Heterogeneity between studies was not explained by age or sex, but could be partly explained by the methods of depression and IR assessments.

CONCLUSIONS: A small but significant cross-sectional association was observed between depression and IR, despite heterogeneity between studies. The pathophysiology mechanisms and direction of this association need further study using a purposively designed prospective or intervention study in samples at high risk for diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-489
Number of pages10
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Depression
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Risk Factors


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