Multiple chronic condition combinations and depression in community-dwelling older adults

Rachel A. Pruchno, Maureen Wilson-Genderson, Allison R. Heid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently called for a paradigm shift from the study of individual chronic conditions to multiple chronic conditions (MCCs). We identify the most common combinations of chronic diseases experienced by a sample of community-dwelling older people and assess whether depression is differentially associated with combinations of illnesses. Methods: Self-reports of diagnosed chronic conditions and depressive symptoms were provided by 5, 688 people participating in the ORANJ BOWLSM research panel. Each respondent was categorized as belonging to one of 32 groups. ANOVA examined the association between depressive symptoms and combinations of illnesses. Results: People with more health conditions experienced higher levels of depression than people with fewer health conditions. People with some illness combinations had higher levels of depressive symptoms than people with other illness combinations. Conclusions: Findings confirm extensive variability in the combinations of illnesses experienced by older adults and demonstrate the complex associations of specific illness combinations with depressive symptoms. Results highlight the need to expand our conceptualization of research and treatment around MCCs and call for a person-centered approach that addresses the unique needs of individuals with MCCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)910-915
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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