The association of daily physical symptoms with future health

Kate A. Leger, Susan T. Charles, John Z. Ayanian, David M. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Rationale: Daily physical symptoms play a critical role in health and illness experiences. Despite their daily prevalence, the ability of these symptoms to predict future health status is debated. Objective: The current study examined whether physical symptom reports predict future health outcomes independent of trait measures of emotion. Methods: Participants (N = 1189) who completed both Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Surveys I and II as well as the National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE) reported their daily physical symptoms at baseline and number of reported chronic conditions and functional disability nearly 10 years later. Results: Physical symptoms at baseline significantly predicted the occurrence of chronic conditions and functional impairment at long-term follow-up, even after adjusting for self-reported affect, self-reported health, and previous health status. Conclusion: Findings suggest that daily physical symptoms are unique indicators of future health status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-248
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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