Gender differences and burden of chronic conditions: impact on quality of life among the elderly in Taiwan

Tsung Yu, Nomin Enkh-Amgalan, Ganchimeg Zorigt, Yea Jen Hsu, Hsin Jen Chen, Hsing Yu Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Multiple chronic conditions affect people’s health-related quality of life (QoL) and the distributions of the conditions may differ between genders. Our goal was to examine gender differences in chronic conditions and QoL among community-living elderly in Taiwan and to examine whether differences in QoL between genders, if present, were attributable to the distribution of chronic conditions. Methods: We used data from the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT, 2005–2008), which interviewed a representative sample of the Taiwanese population. The survey questions included the SF-36 questionnaire to assess participants’ QoL and items for participants’ medical history. We used multiple linear regressions to examine the difference in QoL between genders. Results: We included 1179 elders for our analysis; men accounted for 52% (612/1179). The mean age was 73; women were slightly younger. The mean (standard deviation) of SF-36 physical and mental health component score (PCS and MCS) was 44.5 (11.1) and 55.6 (9.0), respectively, and women reported a significantly lower PCS than men (difference − 4.85, p < 0.001). Urinary incontinence, arthritis, stroke, and kidney disease were associated with a clinically meaningful decrease in PCS (≤ − 6.5 points). The difference in PCS between genders was not attenuated after we accounted for chronic conditions in regression analysis. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that women tend to report that their physical health-related QoL is poorer than that of men, and such a difference does not seem to be attributable to the distribution of chronic conditions. Elderly men and women may perceive health-related QoL differently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1625-1633
Number of pages9
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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