Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman


  • Amy WachholtzEmail author
  • Elizabeth Gleyzer
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_860-2



Comorbidity is the presence of more than one distinct condition in an individual (Valderas et al. 2009).


Often, the term comorbidity refers to the presence of an index condition and other unrelated conditions (Starfield 2006). An index condition or disease describes the main condition under study (Ording and Sørensen 2013). Related terms, such as dual diagnosis and multimorbidity, are used in various clinical and research settings. Dual diagnosis is usually defined specifically as coexisting mental illness and substance or alcohol use disorders. Multimorbidity refers to the co-occurrence of multiple chronic or acute conditions in one person without identifying an index condition (Valderas et al. 2009). Depending on the setting and application of the concept, such as in clinical care, epidemiology, or health services planning and finances,...


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Behavioral Health Index Condition Collaborative Care Integrate Care 
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References and Further Readings

  1. Collins, C., Hewson, D. L., Munger, R., Wade, T. (2013). Evolving models of behavioral health integration in primary care. Milbank Memorial Fund. Retrieved from http://www.milbank.org/uploads/documents/10430EvolvingCare/10430EvolvingCare.html
  2. de Groot, V., Beckerman, H., Lankhorst, G. J., & Bouter, L. M. (2003). How to measure comorbidity: A critical review of available methods. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 56(3), 221–229.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Eaton, W. W. (2006). Medical and psychiatric comorbidity over the course of life. Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.Google Scholar
  4. Kessler, R., Chiu, W., Demler, O., & Walters, E. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 617–627.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Michelson, H., Bolund, C., & Brandberg, Y. (2000). Multiple chronic health problems are negatively associated with health related quality of life (HRQoL) irrespective of age. Quality of Life Research, 9(10), 1093–1104.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Ording, A. G., & Sørensen, H. T. (2013). Concepts of comorbidities, multiple morbidities, complications, and their clinical epidemiologic analogs. Clinical Epidemiology, 5, 199–203.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Rhee, S. H., Hewitt, J. K., Lessem, J. M., Stallings, M. C., Corley, R. P., & Neale, M. C. (2004). The validity of the Neale and Kendler model-fitting approach in examining the etiology of comorbidity. Behavior Genetics, 34(3), 251–265.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Starfield, B. (2006). Threads and yarns: Weaving the tapestry of comorbidity. The Annals of Family Medicine, 4(2), 101–103.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Valderas, J. M., Starfield, B., Sibbald, B., Salisbury, C., & Roland, M. (2009). Defining comorbidity: Implications for understanding health and health services. The Annals of Family Medicine, 7(4), 357–363.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Wright, N., Smeeth, L., & Heath, I. (2003). Moving beyond single and dual diagnosis in general practice: Many patients have multiple morbidities, and their needs have to be addressed. BMJ [British Medical Journal], 326, 512–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Colorado-DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyWilliam James CollegeNewtonUSA