HealthDay News — Cognitive behavioral therapy is associated with enduring benefits for diabetes self-management and glycemic control among adults with type 2 diabetes and depression, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Among 87 adults with both conditions, those assigned to cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) demonstrated greater oral medication adherence (20.7%; P=0.000), better self-monitoring of blood glucose (30.2%; P=0.000) and lower hemoglobin A1c (0.72 units lower; 95% CI: 0.29–1.15, P=0.001) four months after acute treatment, Steven A. Safren, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reported.

All participants had unipolar depression and uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and received treatment as usual, including counseling on medication adherence, self-monitoring of blood glucose and lifestyle counseling. Participants randomly assigned to the CBT arm also received nine to 11 sessions for adherence and depression.

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Patients in the CBT group also had lower depression scores on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (6.44 points; P=0.002); lower Clinical Global Impression (0.74 points; P=0.01) compared with the control group.

At eight- and 12-month follow-up, improvements in medication adherence (24.3%; P = 0.001), blood glucose self monitoring (16.9%; P = 0.043) and hemoglobin A1c (0.63 units lower; P=0.03) observed in the CBT group remained.

Some evidence was seen for continued improvement of depression post-treatment, with no between-group differences.

“CBT [for adherence and depression] is an effective intervention for adherence, depression and glycemic control, with enduring and clinically meaningful benefits for diabetes self-management and glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes and depression,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Safren SA et al. Diabetes Care. 2014; 37(3): 625-633.

Disclosures: Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device and pharmaceutical industries; LifeScan donated glucometers and glucose test strips.