Quality of life in medically ill persons with comorbid mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Psychother Psychosom. 2011;80(5):275-86. doi: 10.1159/000323404. Epub 2011 Jun 1.


Background: This systematic review aims to investigate the association between comorbid mental disorders and quality of life (QoL) in patients with chronic medical diseases.

Methods: Studies investigating adults with diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, asthma, chronic back pain and colorectal cancer were included. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed methodological criteria. Effect sizes for QoL scores were analyzed in random-effects meta-analyses. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were conducted.

Results: The database search identified 7,291 references and 65 primary studies were included. Medically ill persons with comorbid mental disorders showed a significantly decreased overall (d = -1.10; 95% CI = -1.34 to -0.86), physical (d = -0.64; 95% CI = -0.74 to -0.53) and psychosocial (d = -1.18; 95% CI = -1.42 to -0.95) QoL compared to persons without mental disorders. Subgroup analyses did not reveal significant differences between the examined medical diseases or mental disorders.

Conclusion: The review provides evidence of a substantially reduced psychosocial and physical QoL in medically ill patients with comorbid mental disorders. This patient-reported outcome highlights the importance of recognizing and treating comorbid mental disorders in the medically ill.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*