Comorbidity and chronic conditions in the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP), Wave 2.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The goals of this paper were: (a) to promote research using the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP) Wave 2 data by providing relevant background information for a broad range of chronic conditions and (b) to provide a framework for combining these chronic conditions into informative comorbidity indices.


The chronic conditions measured in NSHAP Wave 2 were grouped across several health domains: cardiovascular, endocrine and metabolic, cancer, lung, inflammatory and bone, neurological, and sensorimotor. Prevalences for each condition were reported as percentages and were also estimated separately by age group and gender. Additionally, 2 comorbidity indices were created: a Modified Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) that included conditions associated with mortality risk and the NSHAP Comorbidity Index (NCI) that included conditions from the Modified CCI as well as additional conditions related to overall health and function.


Hypertension, incontinence, arthritis, heart conditions, cancer, and diabetes were the most prevalent conditions. In general, prevalences of most chronic conditions increased with age. Additionally, there were several notable gender differences in chronic condition prevalence. Due to the inclusion of highly prevalent conditions, such as hypertension and incontinence, the mean comorbidity index score of the NCI was higher than that of the Modified CCI.


Wave 2 of NSHAP included a variety of measures assessing the chronic conditions that are the most prevalent in older adults. These data are a valuable resource for the study of the impact of chronic conditions on overall health and aging.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vasilopoulos, T; Kotwal, A; Huisingh-Scheetz, MJ; Waite, LJ; McClintock, MK; Dale, W

Published Date

  • November 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 69 Suppl 2 /

Start / End Page

  • S154 - S165

PubMed ID

  • 25360017

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4303089

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-5368

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1079-5014

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/geronb/gbu025


  • eng