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Mental disorders and quality of life in COPD patients and their spouses.

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Philipps University Marburg, Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Gutenbergstrasse 18, D - 35032 Marburg, Germany.


In the current study, the prevalence of the most common psychological disorders in COPD patients and their spouses was assessed cross-sectionally. The influence of COPD patients' and their spouses' psychopathology on patient health-related quality of life was also examined. The following measurements were employed: Forced expiratory volume in 1 second expressed in percentage predicted (FEV1%), Shuttle-Walking-Test (SWT), International Diagnostic Checklists for ICD-10 (IDCL), questionnaires on generic and disease-specific health-related quality of life (St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), European Quality of Life Questionnaire (EuroQol), a modified version of a Disability-Index (CDI)), and a screening questionnaire for a broad range of psychological problems and symptoms of psychopathology (Symptom-Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R)). One hundred and forty-three stable COPD outpatients with a severity grade between 2 and 4 (according to the GOLD criteria) as well as 105 spouses took part in the study. The prevalence of anxiety and depression diagnoses was increased both in COPD patients and their spouses. In contrast, substance-related disorders were explicitly more frequent in COPD patients. Multiple linear regression analyses indicated that depression (SCL-90-R), walking distance (SWT), somatization (SCL-90-R), male gender, FEV1%, and heart disease were independent predictors of COPD patients' health-related quality of life. After including anxiousness of the spouses in the regression, medical variables (FEV1% and heart disease) no longer explained disability, thus highlighting the relevance of spouses' well-being. The results underline the importance of depression and anxiousness for health-related quality of life in COPD patients and their spouses. Of special interest is the fact that the relation between emotional distress and quality of life is interactive within a couple.

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