Mental-physical multimorbidity and work productivity in China

A recent article by Dr Tianxin Pan and Emily Hulse from Health Economics Unit, together with Prof Barbara McPake, Dr John Lee from The Nossal Institute for Global Health, and colleagues from University of Edinburgh and Harvard University, has been published in BMC Public Health. This study investigated the independent and combined (additive or synergistic) effects of mental and physical chronic conditions on disability, work productivity, and social participation in China using two waves of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (2011, 2015).

This study found that the prevalence of multimorbidity was 76% among Chinese aged over 45 years in 2015. Among them, 57% had two or more physical chronic conditions, and 43% had both mental and physical chronic conditions. Physical chronic conditions were independently associated with a higher likelihood of disability, early retirement, increased sick leave days and participation in social activity. The presence of depression was also independently associated with disability, increased sick leave days and a lower likelihood of social participation. Mental-physical multimorbidity showed additive effects on disability, work loss and social participation.