Name: Esther Briner

Area of Study: Health

In what program are you currently enrolled?: PhD

What year of the program are you currently in? 4th year

Citation in APA format

Burns, R., Briner, E., & Schmitz, N. (Accepted). Trajectories of depressive symptoms and incident diabetes: A prospective study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.=

Plain language abstract:

The purpose of this study was to determine if trajectories of depressive symptoms measured at five time points over 8 years predicted incident diabetes over an 8-year follow-up in middle-aged and older adults. A secondary aim was to determine if trajectories of depressive symptoms predict incident diabetes, above and beyond depressive symptoms measured at a single time point. Five trajectories of depressive symptoms were identified (no depressive symptoms, low depressive symptoms, low-moderate depressive symptoms, moderate depressive symptoms, elevated and increasing depressive symptoms). Compared to the no depressive symptoms trajectory group (referent), all other trajectories groups were at higher risk of developing diabetes after adjusting for covariates. In most cases, trajectory group membership was associated with incident diabetes after controlling for depressive symptoms at a single time point. Patterns of depressive symptoms over time were associated with incident diabetes. Patterns of depressive symptoms may be more predictive of diabetes incidence than depressive symptoms measured at a single time point.

How did the idea for this research come about?

Although an association between depressive symptoms and diabetes has been established, the problem with much of that work to date is that depressive symptoms are only measured at one time point. We wondered what would happen if we looked at depressive symptoms over time and how the patterns of depressive symptoms over time related to the development of diabetes.

How did you collect the data for this project?

Data came from the Health and Retirement Study which is a big ongoing study in the United States. Data are publicly available.

Depressive symptoms were measured biennially from 1998 to 2006. Self-reported incident diabetes was measured during an 8-year follow-up period (2008-2014).

Was the journal you published in the first journal you submitted this paper to?


Why did you choose this journal?

Annals of Behavioural Medicine publishes a variety of topics at the intersection of psychology and health. We felt that our topic met the journal’s requirements and fit nicely within the journal’s scope.


How many other journals did you submit this paper to before it landed in the journal that eventually published your work?


What was your revision experience?

The revision experience was great. A good learning moment for me was the way in which Dr. Burns responded to one of the reviewer’s concerns about why we were not controlling for body mass index (BMI). The challenge in our response was to respectfully acknowledge the concern of the reviewer but at the same time hold firm on our opposing view. In our response letter, Dr. Burns introduced a reference that highlighted our perspective and reasons for not including BMI as a covariate. This approach paid off for us and is one that I will not hesitate to use again in the future.

How many rounds of revision did you experience?


Did you need to collect new data to satisfy a reviewer?


How long did it take from first submission to acceptance?

3.5 months

Was this paper conducted as part of your MA thesis?


Was this paper conducted as part of your PhD dissertation?


Was this research conducted with your supervisor?

Yes, with Dr. Rachel Burns

Was this research conducted with fellow graduate students in our program? 


Was this research conducted with researchers external to Carleton?

Yes, with Prof. Dr. Norbert Schmitz