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Original Research

Chronic morbidity, self-perceived health, and its impact on stress among elderly persons, Kerala

Regi Jose, Meghana Narendran, Manju Leelavathy, Anil Bindu Sukumaran, Shilpa Prakash, Benny P V.


Background: Demographic aging, unplanned urbanization, and unhealthy lifestyles are the major contributors for the changing pattern of disease in recent years. In the developing world, understanding the patterns of morbidity and their mental health are critical mainly among elderly population. Kerala’s aging population has a significant role in public health. This study aims to describe the perceived physical and mental health, self-reported prevalence of chronic diseases of the elderly in Kerala.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the perceptions of physical and mental health and self-reported chronic morbidities among of geriatric population in Kerala and to assess the impact of physical and mental health and self-reported chronic morbidities on stress among of geriatric population in Kerala.

Materials and Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study among elderly through telephonic interviews using pre-tested semi structured Pro forma and perceived stress scale (PSS) used to assess the stress among the elderly.

Results: Diabetes and hypertension were the common chronic disease morbidity among elderly in Kerala with a prevalence rate of 44.3–38.3%, respectively. Physical health and mental health were perceived as “good” by 44–51.8%, respectively, and as “very good” by 10.3–22%. Perceived stress was moderate for 60.3% according to PSS. Chronic morbidities have a significant association with stress among elderly.

Conclusion: Elderly in Kerala perceive their physical and mental as good even though chronic morbidities significantly affect stress.

Key words: Elderly; Perceived Stress Scale; Mental Health; Stress; Chronic Morbidity

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