Background: This is the first study to investigate the associations between chronic health conditions of older people and their impact on co-resident psychological morbidity using population-based samples in low and middle income countries (LAMICs).
Methods: Single-phase cross-sectional catchment area surveys were undertaken in urban sites in Cuba, Dominican Republic and Venezuela, and in rural and urban catchment areas in Mexico, Peru, India and China. All residents aged 65 years and over were interviewed with a co-resident key informant. Exposures were structured clinical diagnoses (10/66 and DSM-IV dementia and ICD-10 depression), self-reported diagnosis (stroke) and physical impairments. Mediating variables were dependence and disability (WHODAS 2.0), and the outcome was co-resident psychological morbidity assessed using SRQ-20.
Results: Poisson regression analysis was used to estimate the prevalence ratios (PRs) for the associations between health conditions and psychological morbidity in each site, and meta-analysis was used to pool the estimates. 11,988 pairs comprising a participant and a co-resident informant were included in the analysis. After meta-analysis, independent effects were noted for depression (PR2.11; 95% CI 1.82–2.45), dementia (PR 1.98; 95% CI 1.72–2.28), stroke (PR 1.42; 95% CI 1.17–1.71) and physical impairments (PR 1.17; 95% CI 1.13–1.21). The effects were partly mediated through disability and dependence. The mean population attributable fraction of total chronic conditions was 30.1%.
Conclusion: The prevalence of co-resident psychological morbidity is higher among co-residents of older people with chronic conditions. This effect was prominent for, but not confined to, depression and dementia. Attention needs to be directed to chronic conditions.