Distress, multimorbidity, and complex multimorbidity among Chinese and Korean American older adults

Hannah Oh, Brittany N. Morey, Yuxi Shi, Sunmin Lee

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Background Studies suggest that distress is associated with various health conditions such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. However, only few studies focused on Asian Americans and little is known about the association with multiple comorbidity. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 400 Chinese and Korean American participants (aged 50-75 years) of the STOP CRC randomized controlled trial. Perceived distress was assessed using the distress thermometer scale (range 0-10). Disease diagnosis was self-reported by the participants. Multimorbidity (MM) was defined as having ≥2 chronic conditions. Complex multimorbidity (CMM) was defined as having ≥3 of the following body system disorders: circulation disorder, endocrine-metabolic disorder, cancer, anxiety or depression, breathing problem, and other health problems. We performed logistic regression for CMM and Poisson regression with robust error variance for MM to estimate associations with distress, adjusting for potential confounders. Results The mean age was 58.4 years and mean distress score was 3.65. One-unit increase in distress score was associated with a 1.22-fold increase in the odds of having CMM (95% CI: 1.04-1.42). The magnitude of association slightly increased after additional adjustment for socioeconomic factors and health insurance status (OR: 1.29; 95% CI: 1.10-1.52). Higher distress score was positively associated with MM but the association was only marginally significant (PR: 1.04; 95% CI: 0.99-1.10), adjusting for socioeconomic factors and health insurance status. Conclusion Our data suggest that higher perceived distress may be associated with simultaneous dysfunction of multiple distinct body systems among Chinese and Korean American older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0297035
JournalPloS one
Issue number1 January
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Oh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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