Perceived Stress and Its Relationship With Chronic Medical Conditions and Multimorbidity Among 229,293 Community-Dwelling Adults in 44 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Davy Vancampfort, A Koyanagi, Philip B Ward, Nicola Veronese, André F Carvalho, Marco Solmi, James Mugisha, Simon Rosenbaum, Marc De Hert, Brendon Stubbs
American Journal of Epidemiology 2017 October 15, 186 (8): 979-989
In this study, we assessed the association of chronic medical conditions and multimorbidity with perceived stress among community-dwelling adults in 44 low- and middle-income countries. Data from the World Health Survey (2002-2004), including 229,293 adults, were analyzed. A perceived stress score (range, 0 (lowest stress)-100 (highest stress)) was computed on the basis of 2 questions from the Perceived Stress Scale. Eleven chronic conditions were assessed. Multivariable linear regression analyses were conducted to explore the associations. All chronic conditions were associated with significantly higher mean perceived stress scores, with the exception of edentulism. The associations were particularly strong for depression (β = 14.71, 95% confidence interval (CI): 13.68, 15.74), visual impairment (β = 10.66, 95% CI: 8.09, 13.23), and schizophrenia (β = 9.98, 95% CI: 7.71, 12.24). Compared with no chronic conditions, the β coefficients for perceived stress with the presence of 1, 2, 3, and ≥4 chronic conditions were 5.58 (95% CI: 4.94, 6.23), 9.58 (95% CI: 8.67, 10.49), 14.15 (95% CI: 12.63, 15.67), and 20.17 (95% CI: 18.29, 22.05), respectively. The associations with perceived stress were significantly stronger among the poorest individuals for arthritis, asthma, diabetes, edentulism, and ≥4 chronic conditions. Our data suggest that a range of chronic conditions and multimorbidity are associated with greatly increased perceived stress among people in low- and middle-income countries, and that the poorest persons may be a particularly vulnerable group.

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