Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care





DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

November 2015



Within Latino culture, there is a belief that strong emotions can cause diabetes. Because of this belief and evidence regarding the bi-directional relationship between depression and diabetes, the objectives of this study were to determine if medical doctors are asking Latinos with diabetes about emotional problems and to assess attitudes toward professional help for emotional problems.

Research design and methods

Data come from the nationally representative National Latino and Asian American Study and the National Comorbidity Survey Replication study. Only Latino subsamples were included (n=3076). A smaller subsample with complete data (n=2568) was used for the inquiry outcome variable. Weighted χ2 analysis and logistic regression were conducted to determine the likelihood of being asked about emotional problems and attitudes toward professional help.


Latinos with mood disorders or anxiety (MD/AX; OR 2.84, 95% CI 2.02 to 4.00), diabetes only (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.06 to 2.69), and co-occurring diabetes and MD/AX (OR 6.67, 95% CI 2.33 to 19.04) were more likely to be asked about emotional problems, relative to Latinos without diabetes or MD/AX. A minority of respondents with diabetes (32%) were asked about emotional problems. Respondents with diabetes only were more likely to feel comfortable talking to a professional for personal problems compared with those without diabetes or MD/AX (OR 1.44, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.09). Although the relationship between having diabetes and feeling comfortable taking to a professional is not statistically significant, z-test statistics indicate that having diabetes influences attitudes about discussing emotional problems.


Among Latinos, having diabetes is associated with greater likelihood of being asked about emotional problems and feeling comfortable talking to a professional about personal problems. Consistent with the cultural relevance of emotions as a cause of diabetes, asking about emotional problems may be a useful approach for engaging Latinos into a discussion about their diabetes self-care activities.


Copyright Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Is Part Of

VCU Family Medicine and Population Health Publications

bmjdrc-2014-000064supp.pdf (130 kB)
Supplemental Figure 1