Onset of Multiple Chronic Conditions and Depressive Symptoms: A Life Events Perspective

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: While the association between depressive symptoms and chronic illness has been the subject of many studies, little is known about whether depressive symptoms differ as a function of the illnesses people have as they transition to living with multiple chronic conditions. Methods: Self-reports of five diagnosed chronic conditions (arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and pulmonary disease) and depressive symptoms were provided by 3,396 people participating in three waves of the ORANJ BOWLSM research panel. Longitudinal multilevel modeling was used to examine the effects that transitioning to having a diagnosis of multiple chronic conditions has on depressive symptoms. Results: Between 2006 and 2014, controlling for age, gender, income, race, and a lifetime diagnosis of depression, people who transitioned to having a diagnosis of multiple chronic conditions had significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than people who did not make this transition. The diagnosis of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and pulmonary disease, but not hypertension had independent effects, increasing depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Having a diagnosis of multiple chronic conditions leads to increases in depressive symptoms, but not all illnesses have the same effect. Findings highlight the need for clinicians to be aware of mental health risks in patients diagnosed with multiple chronic conditions, particularly those with a diagnosis of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and pulmonary disease. Clinical care providers should take account of these findings, encouraging psychosocial supports for older adults who develop multiple chronic conditions to minimize the negative psychological impact of illness diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberigx022
JournalInnovation in Aging
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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