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Prevalence of Major Life Events Among Patients and Community Dwellers

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HSS Journal



Life events have been shown to be associated with health and illness.


We studied the number of life events experienced by hip fracture patients, nonfracture rheumatology patients, and community-dwelling asymptomatic residents in the year before interview. Fifty-four hip fracture patients, 63 ambulatory patients, and 115 community-dwelling residents participated in the study. All were older than 65 years. Descriptive statistics and nonparametric analyses were performed.


The number of events reported in the previous 12months was higher for hipfracture patients than for community participants (p = 0.02). At least one bereavement was reported by 32% of hipfracture patients, 27% of ambulatory patients, and 26% of community dwellers (p = 0.8). Ten percent of all respondents reported experiencing more than one bereavement.


This has important consequences when considering the care of these patients and the mental distress they may be experiencing, especially in the aftermath of local disasters or trauma. Medications may not always be the best treatment, and better psychosocial assessments and delivery systems are needed.

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This study was supported in part by NIAMS 2P60 AR38520-06-10 from the Multipurpose Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Center Program, National Institute on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Wethank Antonia Augurt, Denise Loye, RN, G. Westrich, MD, and J. Lyden, MD, for their help with data collection. This investigation wasconducted in a facility constructed with support from Research Facilities Improvement grant C06-RR12538-01 from the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Margaret G. E. Peterson.

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None of the authors have any financial interests involved in this work

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Peterson, M.G.E., Allegrante, J.P., MacKenzie, C.R. et al. Prevalence of Major Life Events Among Patients and Community Dwellers. HSS Jrnl 1, 52–57 (2005).

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