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J Psychosom Res. 2001 Jan;50(1):7-10.

Similar psychological characteristics in mild and severe asthma.

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Department of Pulmonology, C3-P, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, NL-2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands.



Psychological factors have been implicated as potentially contributing to asthma severity. In the present study, we investigated whether patients with mild and severe asthma differ with regard to several psychological characteristics.


Ninety outpatients with severe asthma (74% female, mean [S.D.] age: 46.5 [13.7] years) and 37 outpatients with mild asthma (73% female, age: 39.4 [13.9] years) were compared with respect to general psychological health, anxiety sensitivity, hyperventilation symptoms, personality, and locus-of-control orientation, all measured by well-validated self-report questionnaires. Analysis of (co)variance (ANCOVA) was used to assess between-groups differences.


No significant differences in psychological characteristics were found between patients with mild and severe asthma. Only on the subscale for external locus-of-control orientation, severe asthmatic patients differed from those with mild disease (P=.005) in showing less trust in physicians and medication with regard to influencing their asthma.


The results suggest that mild and severe asthmatic patients cannot be differentiated on the basis of psychopathology or personality. Whether or not the observed lack of confidence in the influence of physicians or medication on asthma course is cause or consequence of disease severity, remains to be established.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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