Health Policy Manag.  2021 Mar;31(1):46-55. 10.4332/KJHPA.2021.31.1.46.

The Effect of Depression on the Use of Medical Service: Focusing on Patients with Chronic Physical Illness among Middle-Aged and Elderly Women

  • 1Korea Institute for Healthcare Accreditation, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Graduate School of Public Health, Korea University, Seoul, Korea


Patients with the chronic physical illness are more likely to experience depression, and the accompany of chronic physical illness and depression is particularly high in middle-aged and elderly women. Considering that depression is associated with somatization and the decline of therapeutic compliance when accompanied by chronic physical illness, middle-aged and elderly women who experience depression among chronic physical illness may increase their use of medical services. This study is to identify the effect of depression on the use of medical services, especially among middle-aged and elderly women with chronic physical illness.
This study used the 2016 Korean Health Panel. For analysis, it used T-test, negative binomial regression, and multivariate regression combining propensity score matching.
First, depressive groups had a higher number of medical service utilization and total medical expenditure than the non-depressive group. Second, depression significantly increased medical service utilization (β=0.17, p=0.04) at the 5% significance level. Also, depression significantly increased total medical expenditure (β=0.37, p=0.08) at the 10% significance level.
For those who have chronic physical illness among middle-aged and elderly women, the experience of depression was confirmed to be a factor affecting the use of medical services. In the end, it is important to come up with policy countermeasures for middle-aged and elderly women accompanied by depression and chronic physical illness.


Middle-aged and elderly women; Depression; Chronic physical illness; Medical service utilization; Total medical expenditure
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