Severe mental disorders, including affective disorders (AD), are associated with high rates of physical illnesses that lead to premature patient death. Excess somatic comorbidity may be partially explained by lifestyle factors. This study aimed to investigate the health behaviours (HBs) of patients with AD in comparison to the HBs of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and healthy controls (HCs) and to examine associations among HBs and sociodemographic and clinical factors, subjective quality of life and health status, and health locus of control.
The sample consisted of 108 patients with AD, including 60 with bipolar disorder (BP) and 48 with unipolar disorder (UAD). Analyses included comparisons with a subgroup of AD individuals, patients with T2D and HCs matched in age and sex. The Health Behaviour Inventory was used to evaluate the overall levels of HBs and 4 HB categories. To identify independent determinants of health behaviours, a multivariate linear regression analysis was performed with factors identified as significant in bivariate analyses.
Most AD patients had a low level of HBs (40%), followed by moderate (35%) and high levels (25%), and there were no significant differences in HBs between the BP and UAD groups. Compared with the T2D and HC groups, the AD group had a significantly lower level of overall HBs and lower levels of HBs in one of the categories. Independent predictors of overall HBs were quality of life (β = 0.28, p < 0.001), age (β = 0.27, p = 0.002), and depressive symptoms (β = 0.23, p = 0.008). A total of 30% of the variance in HBs was explained.
These findings emphasise the need for a systematic assessment of single and multiple health behaviours to provide better care for patients with AD and reduce the potential adverse effects of an unhealthy lifestyle.