J Korean Med Sci.  2021 Apr;36(16):e99. 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e99.

Combined Effects of Depression and Chronic Disease on the Risk of Mortality: The Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (2006-2016)

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Daegu Catholic University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea


The prevalence of depression is much higher in people with chronic disease than in the general population. Depression exacerbates existing physical conditions, resulting in a higher-than-expected death rate from the physical condition itself. In our aging society, the prevalence of multimorbid patients is expected to increase; the resulting mental problems, especially depression, should be considered. Using a large-scale cohort from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA), we analyzed the combined effects of depression and chronic disease on all-cause mortality.
We analyzed 10-year (2006–2016) longitudinal data of 9,819 individuals who took part in the KLoSA, a nationwide survey of people aged 45–79 years. We examined the association between multimorbidity and depression using chi-square test and logistic regression. We used the Cox proportional hazard model to determine the combined effects of multimorbidity and depression on the all-cause mortality risk.
During the 10-year follow up, 1,574 people (16.0%) died. The hazard ratio associated with mild depression increased from 1.35 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05–1.73) for no chronic disease to 1.25 (95% CI, 0.98–1.60) for 1 chronic disease, and to 2.00 (95% CI, 1.58–2.52) for multimorbidity. The hazard ratio associated with severe depression increased from 1.73 (95% CI, 1.33–2.24) for no chronic disease, to 2.03 (95% CI, 1.60–2.57) for 1 chronic disease, and to 2.94 (95% CI, 2.37–3.65) for multimorbidity.
Patients with coexisting multimorbidity and depression are at an increased risk of all-cause mortality than those with chronic disease or depression alone.


Depression; Chronic Disease; Multimorbidity; All-cause Mortality
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