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Illness perceptions and coping determine quality of life in COPD patients

Authors Tiemensma J, Gaab E, Voorhaar M, Asijee G, Kaptein A

Received 25 March 2016

Accepted for publication 31 May 2016

Published 25 August 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 2001—2007

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S109227

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Professor Hsiao-Chi Chuang

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Jitske Tiemensma,1 Erin Gaab,2 Maarten Voorhaar,3,4 Guus Asijee,3,5 Adrian A Kaptein6

1Psychological Sciences, 2Health Sciences Research Institute, University of California, Merced, CA, USA; 3Department of Family Medicine, Maastricht University, Care and Public Health Research Institute School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht, the Netherlands; 4Boehringer Ingelheim, Alkmaar, the Netherlands; 5Boehringer Ingelheim, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 6Department of Medical Psychology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands

Background: A key goal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) care is to improve patients’ quality of life (QoL). For outcomes such as QoL, illness perceptions and coping are important determinants.
Aim: The primary aim was to assess the associations between illness perceptions, coping and QoL in COPD patients. A secondary aim was to compare illness perceptions and coping of patients with reference values derived from the literature.
Patients and methods: A total of 100 patients were included in the study. Patients were asked to complete the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (B-IPQ), the Utrecht Proactive Coping Competence scale (UPCC), and a QoL item. Correlations and linear regression models were used to analyze the data. Student’s t-tests were used to compare patients with COPD with reference values derived from the literature.
Results: Patients with better understanding of COPD utilized more proactive coping strategies (P=0.04). A more intense emotional response to COPD was related to less proactive coping (P=0.02). Patients who reported using more proactive coping techniques also reported to have a better QoL (P<0.01). Illness perceptions were also related to QoL: more positive illness perceptions were related to a better QoL (all P<0.05). Patients with COPD reported more negative illness perceptions than people with a common cold or patients with asthma (all P<0.01), but reported similar perceptions compared with patients with diabetes.
Conclusion: Patients with COPD reported a moderate QoL, but appeared to be proficient in proactive coping. Illness perceptions, coping, and QoL were all associated with each other. Patients reported more strongly affected illness perceptions compared to people with a cold and patients with asthma. We postulate that a self-management intervention targeting patients’ illness perceptions leads to improved QoL.

Keywords: COPD, illness perceptions, coping, QoL, common sense model

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