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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 6;8(6):e65858. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065858. Print 2013.

Disability mediates the impact of common conditions on perceived health.

Author information

  • 1IMIM-Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques, Barcelona, Spain ; Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain. jalonso@imim.es

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2013;8(9). doi:10.1371/annotation/1b1c6fa4-a665-4241-8cdc-fad6eb6709fc. Hormel, J [corrected to Ormel, J Hans].

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We examined the extent to which disability mediates the observed associations of common mental and physical conditions with perceived health.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys carried out in 22 countries worldwide (n = 51,344 respondents, 72.0% response rate). We assessed nine common mental conditions with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), and ten chronic physical with a checklist. A visual analog scale (VAS) score (0, worst to 100, best) measured perceived health in the previous 30 days. Disability was assessed using a modified WHO Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS), including: cognition, mobility, self-care, getting along, role functioning (life activities), family burden, stigma, and discrimination. Path analysis was used to estimate total effects of conditions on perceived health VAS and their separate direct and indirect (through the WHODAS dimensions) effects. Twelve-month prevalence was 14.4% for any mental and 51.4% for any physical condition. 31.7% of respondents reported difficulties in role functioning, 11.4% in mobility, 8.3% in stigma, 8.1% in family burden and 6.9% in cognition. Other difficulties were much less common. Mean VAS score was 81.0 (SD = 0.1). Decrements in VAS scores were highest for neurological conditions (9.8), depression (8.2) and bipolar disorder (8.1). Across conditions, 36.8% (IQR: 31.2-51.5%) of the total decrement in perceived health associated with the condition were mediated by WHODAS disabilities (significant for 17 of 19 conditions). Role functioning was the dominant mediator for both mental and physical conditions. Stigma and family burden were also important mediators for mental conditions, and mobility for physical conditions.

CONCLUSIONS:

More than a third of the decrement in perceived health associated with common conditions is mediated by disability. Although the decrement is similar for physical and mental conditions, the pattern of mediation is different. Research is needed on the benefits for perceived health of targeted interventions aimed at particular disability dimensions.

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