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Eur J Public Health. 2014 Feb;24(1):45-9. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckt017. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

The association between self-reported history of physical diseases and psychological distress in a community-dwelling Japanese population: the Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study.

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1 Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.



Patients with physical disease are known to suffer considerable psychological distress. Social support may confound the association between physical disease and psychological distress. Population-based epidemiological studies have not been conducted on the association between history of physical disease, psychological distress and social support.


Using cross-sectional data from 2006, we studied 43 487 community-dwelling people aged ≥40 years living in Japan. We examined the association between 13 self-reported histories of physical disease and psychological distress evaluated using the Kessler 6-item psychological distress scale (K6), defined as ≥13 points out of 24. To investigate the association, we performed multiple logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, social support and possible confounders. Social support, as the interaction between physical disease and psychological depression, was tested through the addition of cross-product terms to the multivariate-adjusted model.


The following histories of physical disease were found significantly and positively associated with psychological distress: cancer, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, gastric or duodenal ulcer, liver disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney disease and fall or fracture (odds ratio, 1.2-2.3). Social support did not modify the association between most histories of physical disease and psychological distress.


Subjects with a history of physical disease were significantly and positively associated with psychological distress, and social support did not modify this association for most physical diseases. Even after patients have left hospital following treatment for physical disease, they require continuous monitoring for psychological distress by doctors and paramedics.

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