Psychosocial patient characteristics and GP-registered chronic morbidity: a prospective study

J Psychosom Res. 2001 Feb;50(2):95-102. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(00)00227-0.


Objective: The aim of this study was to get a profile of patients who are vulnerable to get multiple chronic, recurrent or high-impact diseases in a limited time period. We studied the incidence rates of morbidity and multimorbidity, and the influence of psychosocial characteristics on their occurrences.

Method: Cohort study with 3551 subjects. Baseline measurement of psychosocial characteristics and a 2-year follow-up period for morbidity. The relations were evaluated using multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results: After adjustment for basic socio-demographic variables, a high internal locus of control belief was found to be protective [odds ratio (OR)=0.82] for the occurrence of morbidity, negative life events increased the risk (OR=1.22). Characteristics specifically protective for the occurrence of multimorbidity as compared to monomorbidity were: a high internal locus of control belief (OR=0.73), living as a couple or in a family as compared to living alone (OR=0.68) and a large social network (OR=0.41).

Conclusion: It appears that certain patient characteristics are specifically related to the occurrence of multimorbidity. This provides opportunities for the future development of preventive interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries*
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Support