Purpose: To identify the contributions of medical conditions and psychological distress to well-being within a non-clinical sample, stratified by age. It was predicted that medical conditions and psychological distress would be negatively associated with well-being. It was also predicted that psychological distress and medical conditions would account for significant variance in well-being. It was further predicted that psychological distress would mediate the relationship between medical conditions and well-being across the life span. Methods: 1,424,307 employees/health plan members that completed an HRA. SEM was used to characterize relationships among medical conditions and psychological distress in predicting well-being (QoL, HRQoL, and impairments in ADLs) in five adult age groups. Results: Medical conditions and psychological distress were negatively associated with well-being. As age increased, psychological distress was less associated with well-being. However, in those >75 years old, psychological distress had the largest association with well-being. All medical conditions, except cancer, were negatively associated with well-being. There were decreasing effects of medical conditions across the life span, with the exception of pulmonary disease which increased. Psychological distress mediated the relationship between medical conditions and well-being, with chronic pain having the greatest mediation across the life span. Conclusions: The analysis revealed differences in the contribution of psychological distress and medical conditions to well-being by age group. Additionally, the contribution of psychological distress was equitable to that of medical conditions, thus highlighting the importance of addressing psychological distress in medical populations for well-being. Findings suggest the relevance of age in well-being and the need for further longitudinal investigation.
- Health-related quality of life
- Medical conditions
- Psychological distress
- Quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health