Objectives: To further disentangle multimorbidity and its relation with psychosocial characteristics, by categorizing combinations of diseases within a patient as general or disease-related susceptibility, based on the presence or absence of a pathophysiological communality of diseases.
Study design and setting: A cohort of 3,460 patients that previously took part in a study on multimorbidity was followed up for a period of 2 years.
Context: the Registration Network Family Practices, which is a continuous and computerized database in Dutch general practice that covered over 60,000 patients at the time of the study.
Results: During 2-year follow-up 91.6% did not show susceptibility, 4.2% showed general susceptibility, 1.4% disease-related susceptibility, 0.8% both general and disease-related susceptibility, and 1.9% patients could not be classified. None of the studied characteristics was significantly related to the occurrence of disease-related susceptibility. A decreased risk for general disease susceptibility related to an internal health locus of control, an active and palliative coping style, and the occurrence of positive life events.
Conclusion: The distinction between general susceptibility and disease-related susceptibility is feasible and seems useful. Further development of this methodology is needed, as is confirmation of these results in a larger study population.