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Articles by L. Fisher
Total Records ( 5 ) for L. Fisher
  L. Fisher , M. M. Skaff , J. T. Mullan , P. Arean , R. Glasgow and U. Masharani

Aims  To report the prevalence and correlates of affective and anxiety disorders, depressive affect and diabetes distress over time.

Methods  In a non-interventional study, 506 patients with Type 2 diabetes were assessed three times over 18 months (9-month intervals) for: major depressive disorder (MDD), general anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PANIC), dysthymia (DYS) (Composite International Diagnostic Interview); depressive affect [Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression (CES-D)]; Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS); HbA1c; and demographic data.

Results  Diabetic patients displayed high rates of affective and anxiety disorders over time, relative to community adults: 60% higher for MDD, 123% for GAD, 85% for PANIC, 7% for DYS. The prevalence of depressive affect and distress was 60–737% higher than of affective and anxiety disorders. The prevalence of individual patients with an affective and anxiety disorder over 18 months was double the rate assessed at any single wave. The increase for CES-D and DDS was about 60%. Persistence of CES-D and DDS disorders over time was significantly greater than persistence of affective and anxiety disorders, which tended to be episodic. Younger age, female gender and high comorbidities were related to persistence of all conditions over time. HbA1c was positively related to CES-D and DDS, but not to affective and anxiety disorders over time.

Conclusions  The high prevalence of comorbid disorders and the persistence of depressive affect and diabetes distress over time highlight the need for both repeated mental health and diabetes distress screening at each patient contact, not just periodically, particularly for younger adults, women and those with complications/comorbidities.

  L. Fisher , J. T. Mullan , M. M. Skaff , R. E. Glasgow , P. Arean and D. Hessler
  Aims Diabetes distress (DD) is a condition distinct from depression that is related to diabetes outcomes. In those without distress initially, little is known about what indicators place patients at risk for subsequent distress over time.

Methods From a community-based, three-wave, 18-month study of Type 2 diabetic patients (n = 506), we identified patients with no DD at T1 who displayed DD at T2, T3 or both (n = 57). Using logistic regression with full and trimmed models, we compared them with patients with no DD at all three time points (n = 275) on three blocks of variables: patient characteristics (demographics, depression, extra-disease stress), biological (HbA1c, body mass index, comorbidities, complications, blood pressure, non-high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol), and behavioural variables (diet, exercise). Selected interactions with stress and major depressive disorder (MDD) were explored.

Results The odds of becoming distressed over time were higher for being female, previously having had MDD, experiencing more negative events or more chronic stress, having more complications, and having poor diet and low exercise. Negative life events increased the negative effects of both high HbA1c and high complications on the emergence of distress over time.

Conclusions We identified a list of significant, independent direct and interactive predictors of high DD that can be used for patient screening to identify this high-risk patient cohort. Given the impact of high DD on diabetes behavioural and biological indicators, the findings suggest the usefulness of regularly appraising both current life and disease-related stressors in clinical care.

  W. H. Polonsky , L. Fisher , D. Hessler and S. V. Edelman


To identify patient-reported obstacles to self-monitoring of blood glucose among those with Type 2, both insulin users and non-insulin users, and to investigate how obstacles are associated with frequency of self-monitoring and use of self-monitoring data.


Patients with Type 2 diabetes (= 886, 65% insulin users) who attended a 1-day diabetes education conference in cities across the USA completed a survey on current and recommended self-monitoring of blood glucose frequency, how they used self-monitoring results and perceived obstacles to self-monitoring use. Exploratory factor analysis examined 12 obstacle items to identify underlying factors. Regression analyses examined associations between self-monitoring of blood glucose use and the key obstacle factors identified in the exploratory factor analysis.


Three obstacle factors emerged: Avoidance, Pointlessness and Burden. Avoidance was the only significant independent predictor of self-monitoring frequency (β = −0.23, P < 0.001). Avoidance (β = −0.12, P < 0.01) and Pointlessness (β = −0.15, P < 0.001) independently predicted how often self-monitoring data were shared with healthcare professionals and whether or not data were used to make management adjustments (Avoidance: odds ratio = 0.74, P < 0.001; Pointlessness: odds ratio = 0.75, P < 0.01). Burden was not associated with any of the self-monitoring behavioural measures. Few differences between insulin users and non-insulin users were noted.


Obstacles to self-monitoring of blood glucose use, both practical and emotional, were common. Higher levels of Avoidance and Pointlessness, but not Burden, were associated with less frequent self-monitoring use. Addressing patients' self-monitoring-related emotional concerns (Avoidance and Pointlessness) may be more beneficial in enhancing interest and engagement with self-monitoring of blood glucose than focusing on day-to-day, behavioural issues (Burden).

  L. Fisher , D. Hessler , U. Masharani and L. Strycker


To improve patient-centred care by determining the impact of baseline levels of conscientiousness and diabetes self-efficacy on the outcomes of efficacious interventions to reduce diabetes distress and improve disease management.


Adults with Type 2 diabetes with diabetes distress and self-care problems (= 392) were randomized to one of three distress reduction interventions: computer-assisted self-management; computer-assisted self-management plus problem-solving therapy; and health education. The baseline assessment included conscientiousness and self-efficacy, demographics, diabetes status, regimen distress, emotional burden, medication adherence, diet and physical activity. Changes in regimen distress, emotional burden and self-care between baseline and 12 months were recorded and ancova models assessed how conscientiousness and self-efficacy qualified the significant improvements in distress and management outcomes.


Participants with high baseline conscientiousness displayed significantly larger improvements in medication adherence and emotional burden than participants with low baseline conscientiousness. Participants with high baseline self-efficacy showed greater improvements in diet, physical activity and regimen distress than participants with low baseline self-efficacy. The impact of conscientiousness and self-efficacy were independent of each other and occurred across all three intervention groups. A significant interaction indicated that those with both high self-efficacy and high conscientiousness at baseline had the biggest improvement in physical activity by 12 months.


Both broad personal traits and disease-specific expectations qualify the outcomes of efficacious interventions. These findings reinforce the need to change from a one-size-fits-all approach to diabetes interventions to an approach that crafts clinical interventions in ways that fit the personal traits and skills of individual people.

  L. Fisher , J. S. Gonzalez and W. H. Polonsky
  Studies have identified significant linkages between depression and diabetes, with depression associated with poor self-management behaviour, poor clinical outcomes and high rates of mortality. However, findings are not consistent across studies, yielding confusing and contradictory results about these relationships. We suggest that there has been a failure to define and measure ‘depression’ in a consistent manner. Because the diagnosis of depression is symptom-based only, without reference to source or content, the context of diabetes is not considered when addressing the emotional distress experienced by individuals struggling with diabetes. To reduce this confusion, we suggest that an underlying construct of ‘emotional distress’ be considered as a core construct to link diabetes-related distress, subclinical depression, elevated depression symptoms and major depressive disorder (MDD). We view emotional distress as a single, continuous dimension that has two primary characteristics: content and severity; that the primary content of emotional distress among these individuals include diabetes and its management, other life stresses and other contributors; and that both the content and severity of distress be addressed directly in clinical care. We suggest further that all patients, even those whose emotional distress rises to the level of MDD or anxiety disorders, can benefit from consideration of the content of distress to direct care effectively, and we suggest strategies for integrating the emotional side of diabetes into regular diabetes care. This approach can reduce confusion between depression and distress so that appropriate and targeted patient-centred interventions can occur.
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