The Joint Effect of Physical Multimorbidity and Mental Health Conditions Among Adults in Australia
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The Joint Effect of Physical Multimorbidity and Mental Health Conditions Among Adults in Australia

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Prev Chronic Dis
    • Description:

      The prevalence of chronic physical and mental health conditions is rising globally. Little evidence exists on the joint effect of physical and mental health conditions on health care use, work productivity, and health-related quality of life in Australia.


      We analyzed data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, waves 9 (2009), 13 (2013), and 17 (2017). Economic effects associated with multimorbidity were measured through health service use, work productivity loss, and health-related quality of life. We used generalized estimating equations to assess the effect of the association between physical multimorbidity and mental health conditions and economic outcomes.


      From 2009 through 2017 the prevalence of physical multimorbidity increased from 15.1% to 16.2%, and the prevalence of mental health conditions increased from 11.2% to 17.3%. The number of physical health conditions was associated with the number of health services used (general practitioner visits, incidence rate ratio = 1.41), work productivity loss (labor force participation, adjusted odds ratio = 0.71), and reduced health-related quality of life (SF-6D score: Coefficient = −0.03). These effects were exacerbated by the presence of mental health conditions and low socioeconomic status.


      Having multiple physical health conditions (physical multimorbidity) creates substantial health and financial burdens on individuals, the health system, and society, including increased use of health services, loss of work productivity, and decreased health-related quality of life. The adverse effects of multimorbidity on health, quality of life, and economic well-being are exacerbated by the co-occurrence of mental health conditions and low socioeconomic status.

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