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12.10.2017 | Ausgabe 3/2018

Quality of Life Research 3/2018

The association between somatic and psychological discomfort and health-related quality of life according to the elderly and non-elderly

Quality of Life Research > Ausgabe 3/2018
Hyeon-Sook Lee, Siwoo Lee, Sohee Park, Younghwa Baek, Ji-Hye Youn, Dan Bee Cho, Jung-Hyun Jin, Aesun Shin, Sue K. Park, Keon Wook Kang, Young-Khi Lim, Chul Hwan Kang, Keun-Young Yoo, Kwang-Pil Ko
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11136-017-1715-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Symptoms and discomfort are common complaints in primary care settings. It has been postulated that the physical symptoms are informative index in estimating Health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Thus, we conducted a community-based cross-sectional study to assess the relationship between somatic and psychological discomfort and HRQOL in elderly and non-elderly people.


A total of 2467 participants were recruited in 2013 from a population of 17,066 rural residents aged 20 or older. Information on demographic characteristics, somatic and psychological discomfort symptoms, and HRQOL was collected. Two months after the baseline survey, we conducted a repeated survey to assess changes in the discomfort symptoms and HRQOL. We evaluated associations of the discomfort symptoms with HRQOL using multiple linear regression and mixed model.


EuroQol-Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-VAS), index of HRQOL, was correlated with fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances, indigestion, and anxiety/depression, after adjusting for covariates. However, the factors most significantly associated with EQ-VAS differed between the elderly and non-elderly. Pain was the most important factor contributing to EQ-VAS in the elderly, whereas depression and anxiety were the predominant factors in the non-elderly. These relationships were replicated in the repeated measurements to assess the change of symptoms and change of EQ-VAS.


Our study suggests that somatic and psychological discomfort symptoms are associated with HRQOL. The main factors related to HRQOL vary according to age and large prospective studies and clinical trials are needed to clarify the association between specific symptoms and HRQOL according to the age.

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