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Relationship between life satisfaction and preventable hospitalisations: a population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada


Objective — To examine if low life satisfaction is associated with an increased risk of being hospitalised for an ambulatory care sensitive condition (ACSC), in comparison to high life satisfaction

Design and Setting — Population-based cohort study of adults from Ontario, Canada. Baseline data were captured through the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and linked to health administrative data for follow-up information.

Participants — 129 467 men and women between the ages 18 and 74.

Main Outcome Measures — Time to avoidable hospitalisations defined by ACSCs.

Results — Life satisfaction was measured at baseline through the CCHS and follow-up information on ACSC hospitalisations were captured by linking participant respondents to hospitalisation records covered under a single payer health system. Within the study time frame (maximum of 14 years), 3037 individuals were hospitalised. Older men in the lowest household income quintile were more likely to be hospitalised with an ACSC. After controlling for age, sex, socioeconomic status (SES) and other behavioural factors, low life satisfaction at baseline had a strong relationship with future hospitalisations for ACSCs (HR 2.71; 95% CI 1.87 to 3.93). The hazards were highest for those who jointly had the lowest levels of life satisfaction and low household income (HR 3.80; 95% CI 2.13 to 6.73). Results did not meaningful change after running a competing risk survival analysis.

Conclusions — This study demonstrates that poor life satisfaction is associated with hospitalisations for ACSCs after adjustment for several confounders. Furthermore, the magnitude of this relationship was greater for those who were more socioeconomically disadvantaged. This study adds to the existing literature on the impact of life satisfaction on health system outcomes by documenting its impact on avoidable hospitalisations in a universal health system.



De Prophetis E, Goel V, Watson T, Rosella LC. BMJ Open. 2020; 10(2):e032837. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

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