Mental-Physical Multimorbidity in Youth: Associations with Individual, Family, and Health Service Use Outcomes

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2019 Jun;50(3):400-410. doi: 10.1007/s10578-018-0848-y.


Prevalence, correlates, and outcomes of youth with comorbid mental and physical conditions (i.e., multimorbidity) were examined in this cross-sectional study. Participants were 92 youth (14.5 years [SD 2.7]; 69.6% female) and their parents. Mental disorder was assessed using structured interviews and physical health using a standardized questionnaire. Twenty-five percent of youth had multimorbidity and no child or parent demographic or health characteristics were correlated with multimorbidity. Youth with multimorbidity reported similar quality of life and better family functioning [B = - 4.80 (- 8.77, - 0.83)] compared to youth with mental disorder only (i.e., non-multimorbid). Youth with multimorbidity had lower odds of receiving inpatient services [OR = 0.20 (0.05, 0.85)] and shorter stays in hospital for their mental health [OR = 0.74 (0.57, 0.91)] over the past year. Family functioning was found to mediate the association between youth multimorbidity and length of stay [αβ = 0.14 (0.01, 0.27)]. Findings reinforce the need for family-centered youth mental health care.

Keywords: Adolescent; Child; Chronic disease; Mental disorders; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Multiple Chronic Conditions / epidemiology*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Socioeconomic Factors

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