This session was led by Professor Rachel Burns, from Carleton University’s Department of Psychology, as part of the Healthy Workplace Mental Health Speaker Series 2020/2021.

Compared to the general population, adults with diabetes are at increased risk of some mental health problems, including depression. Evidence suggests that the association between diabetes and depression is bidirectional; individuals with diabetes are more likely to subsequently develop depression and individuals with depression are more likely to subsequently develop diabetes. This talk will first review the empirical evidence supporting this bidirectional association. Next, new research, including recent work by Dr. Burns and her colleagues, that explores the conditions under which comorbid depression and diabetes is most likely to occur, and links between spousal health and risk of developing diabetes.

About the Researcher: Rachel Burns is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. Her research focuses on health behaviour change and health outcomes. She leverages theory to identify the social and cognitive processes that shape how people manage their health behaviour and examine how these processes unfold over time. This information is used to inform, implement, and/or evaluate interventions, which, in turn, provide an evidence base to inform theory. She has a particular interest in the associations between mental health, health behaviours, and health outcomes in individuals with type 2 diabetes, though her interests are not limited to this population. Currently, her work examines habits for self-management behaviour, the influence of close others on health behaviour, and the application of theory to existing health behaviour change interventions.