Background and Objectives: Few studies have investigated the bidirectional relationship between disability and multimorbidity, which are common conditions among the older population. Based on the data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we aimed to investigate the bidirectional relationship between disability and multimorbidity. Methods: The activities of daily living (ADLs) and the instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) scales were used to measure disability. In stage I, we used multinomial logistic regression to assess the longitudinal association between ADL/IADL disability and follow-up multimorbidity. In stage II, binary logistic regression was used to evaluate the multimorbidity effect on future disability. Results: Compared with those free of disability, people with disability possessed ascending risks for developing an increasing number of diseases. For ADL disability, the odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) values of developing ≥4 diseases were 4.10 (2.58, 6.51) and 6.59 (4.54, 9.56) in CHARLS and SHARE; for IADL disability, the OR (95% CI) values were 2.55 (1.69, 3.84) and 4.85 (3.51, 6.70) in CHARLS and SHARE. Meanwhile, the number of diseases at baseline was associated, in a dose-response manner, with future disability. Compared with those without chronic diseases, participants carrying ≥4 diseases had OR (95% CI) values of 4.82 (3.73, 6.21)/4.66 (3.65, 5.95) in CHARLS and 3.19 (2.59, 3.94)/3.28 (2.71, 3.98) in SHARE for developing ADL/IADL disability. Conclusion: The consistent findings across 2 national longitudinal studies supported a strong bidirectional association between disability and multimorbidity among middle-aged and elderly adults. Thus, tailored interventions should be taken to prevent the mutual development of disability and multimorbidity.

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