AIMS: To describe the course of depressive symptoms during the first year after diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. METHODS: Post hoc analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial of self-management education for 824 individuals newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Participants completed the Depression scale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale after diagnosis and at 4, 8 and 12 months follow-up. Participants also completed the Problem Areas in Diabetes scale at 8 and 12 months follow-up. We present descriptive statistics on prevalence and persistence of depressive symptoms. Logistic regression is used to predict possible depression cases, and multiple regression to predict depressive symptomatology. RESULTS: The prevalence of depressive symptoms in individuals recently diagnosed with diabetes (18-22% over the year) was not significantly different from normative data for the general population (12%) in the UK. Over 20% of participants indicated some degrees of depressive symptoms over the first year of living with Type 2 diabetes; these were mostly transient episodes, with 5% (1% severe) reporting having depressive symptoms throughout the year. At 12 months post diagnosis, after controlling for baseline depressive symptoms, diabetes-specific emotional distress was predictive of depressive symptomatology. CONCLUSIONS: The increased prevalence of depressive symptoms in diabetes is not manifest until at least 1 year post diagnosis in this cohort. However, there are a significant number of people with persistent depressive symptoms in the early stages of diabetes, and diabetes-specific distress may be contributing to subsequent development of depressive symptoms in people with Type 2 diabetes.