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Identification of Anxiety Symptom Clusters in Patients with COPD: Implications for Assessment and Treatment.

Breland JY, Hundt NE, Barrera TL, Mignogna J, Petersen NJ, Stanley MA, Cully JA. Identification of Anxiety Symptom Clusters in Patients with COPD: Implications for Assessment and Treatment. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2015 Oct 1; 22(5):590-6.

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BACKGROUND: Treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is palliative, and quality of life is important. Increased understanding of correlates of quality of life and its domains could help clinicians and researchers better tailor COPD treatments and better support patients engaging in those treatments or other important self-management behaviors. PURPOSE: Anxiety is common in those with COPD; however, overlap of physical and emotional symptoms complicates its assessment. The current study aimed to identify anxiety symptom clusters and to assess the association of these symptom clusters with COPD-related quality of life. METHODS: Participants (N = 162) with COPD completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and Medical Research Council dyspnea scale. Anxiety clusters were identified, using principal component analysis (PCA) on the BAI's 21 items. Anxiety clusters, along with factors previously associated with quality of life, were entered into a multiple regression designed to predict COPD-related quality of life. RESULTS: PCA identified four symptom clusters related to (1) general somatic distress, (2) fear, (3) nervousness, and (4) respiration-related distress. Multiple regression analyses indicated that greater fear was associated with less perceived mastery over COPD ( = -0.19, t(149) = -2.69, p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Anxiety symptoms associated with fear appear to be an important indicator of anxiety in patients with COPD. In particular, fear was associated with perceptions of mastery, an important psychological construct linked to disease self-management. Assessing the BAI symptom cluster associated with fear (five items) may be a valuable rapid assessment tool to improve COPD treatment and physical health outcomes.

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