Psychological distress led to more chronic conditions in adults with disabilities

Adults with disabilities who had increased level of psychological distress showed a higher prevalence of chronic conditions, barriers to health care and non-receipt of preventive cancer screenings, according to study results published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

Researchers analyzed data collected from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and used the Kessler-6 scale to assess psychological distress. They found an association between increasing levels of psychological distress and increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and stroke. The increased levels of psychological distress was also associated with decreased access to health care and utilization of preventive services. Although researchers found that adults with disabilities aged 18 years to 64 years and 65 years or older had more mental health treatments with the increasing levels of distress, a larger portion of older adults reported not receiving mental health treatments compared to younger adults.

For more information:

Okoro CA. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2014;25:814-836.

Disclosure: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.

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