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BMC Public Health. 2013 Dec 10;13:1160. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-1160.

Did past economic prosperity affect the health related quality of life predictors? A longitudinal study on a representative sample of Slovenian family medicine patients.

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Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Poljanski nasip 58, Ljubljana, Slovenia.



Health related quality of life (HRQOL) as an important measure of medical outcomes has been shown to be associated with demographic factors and the most common mental and chronic somatic diseases. This study's aim was to identify factors predicting changes in HRQOL over a follow-up period in a representative sample of Slovenian family medicine patients.


In a longitudinal multi-centred study between 2003 and 2005, data were collected from 1118 consecutive attendees from 60 family medicine practices in Slovenia on quality of life, socio-demographic factors and the presence of mental disorders, with follow-up after 6 and 24 months. Retrospective information on chronic diseases was obtained from patients` health records. In three time-sequential multiple linear regression models, data on 601 patients (53.8%) was analysed to determine factors associated with each component score of quality of life.


At baseline the patients were 48.58 (SE = 0.58) years of age, over half were women (386 (64.2%)) and most were Slovenian (548 (91.2%)). Quality of life was seen to improve over the two-year period. Factors significantly and consistently associated with a better mental component score of quality of life were social support, satisfactory circumstances in patients` household and absence of anxiety. Major life events in the past year and depression were shown to be risk factors for mental and physical components, while level of education, absence of long-term disability and chronic pain were identified as predictors of the physical component.


Detection and successful treatment of depression and anxiety has a potential to lead to improved quality of life in family medicine attendees; family physicians should be alert for the early onset of these conditions, knowing that symptoms of chronic pain, depression and anxiety often overlap in patients. Poorly educated patients and those lacking social support and/or satisfactory household circumstances should be recognised and empowered, and appropriate coping mechanisms should be introduced.

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