The impact of comorbidity on wealth changes in later life

Hyungsoo Kim, Jinkook Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives. Despite the high prevalence of comorbidity in later life. scientists do nut fully understand its financial impact. The objective of this study was to enhance researchers' understanding of the impact of compounded health problems on the wealth of older people. Methods. Using data from the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old study (1995 to 2002 waves), we conducted ordinary least squares regression analysis on wealth changes. Results. We found that comorbidity leads to significant wealth depletion in later life, especially for single elders. Single elders with comorbidity depleted 20% to 22% of their wealth over a 2- to 3-year time period, especially those with the combination of heart disease and diabetes. The impact of comorbidity was disproportionately greater than the estimated impact of a single health problem. However, the impact of comorbidity did not appear to be significant among married people. Discussion. We found that compounded health problems also create compounded financial problems in later life. For an accurate estimation of the financial consequences of health problems, it is important to consider comorbid health problems, as the effect of comorbidity is not equal to the sum of the effects of single health problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S307-S314
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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