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What else should we know about experiencing COPD? A narrative review in search of patients’ psychological burden alleviation

Authors Rzadkiewicz M, Bråtas O, Espnes GA

Received 1 April 2016

Accepted for publication 3 June 2016

Published 16 September 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 2295—2304

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S109700

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Marta Rzadkiewicz,1 Ola Bråtas,2 Geir Arild Espnes2

1Second Faculty of Medicine with The English Division and The Physiotherapy Division, Department of Medical Psychology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland; 2Center for Health Promotion Research, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway


Abstract: The present paper is a narrative review focusing on the psychological impact, identification of protective factors, and interventions minimizing the psychological burdens of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The research reviews studies on neurocognitive functions, personality, emotional problems, and health-related quality of life. This is done with regard to resources as well as activities enabling or enhancing a patient’s adaptation. PubMed and PsychArticles databases were searched for relevant medical (eg, CODP, emphysema), psychopathology (eg, depression), and psychological (eg, personality) keywords, followed by hand search. After application of the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the search resulted in 82 articles and book chapters. The choice was based on evidence accepted by evidence-based medicine, although at different levels of strength. Psychological experiencing of COPD appears to be very unequally represented with scientific research on emotional problems and functioning decrease significantly outnumbering those addressing resources or effective interventions. As our initial literature search called for an urgent need for further exploration, we have carefully pointed out numerous areas where the knowledge on how to protect or restore psychological well-being among COPD patients should be broadened.

Keywords: COPD, chronic illness, psychological intervention, personality, mental health, HRQoL

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