Agoraphobic avoidance predicts emotional distress and increased physical concerns in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Paweł Holas , Jarosław Michałowski , Łukasz Gawęda , Joanna Domagała-Kulawik


Background Anxiety and panic attacks are more common in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than in the overall population. Individuals with panic attacks often attempt to avoid situations perceived as at risk of eliciting bodily sensations such as dyspnea, which paradoxically may lead to anxiety-related responsivity. Although there is some evidence that COPD individuals restrict their participation in various life activities because they fear that these may trigger breathlessness, little is known about agoraphobic avoidance and its impact on cognitions and emotional distress in this population. It was thus our aim to investigate the degree of agoraphobic avoidance in COPD individuals, its clinical concomitants and consequences. Methods A total of 48 patients with COPD and 48 matched controlled subjects completed measures of anxiety sensitivity, agoraphobic avoidance, anxiety and depression. Objective COPD severity was measured using forced expiratory volume in the first second. Results Patients showed significant impairment in respiratory functioning and psychological distress. Relative to the control, the COPD group exhibited greater depression, anxiety, physical symptom concerns and avoidance (alone and accompanied), irrespective of whether they were panickers or not. Patients with high avoidance showed more intense physical concerns when compared to those with low avoidance. Importantly, the level of avoidance predicted emotional distress and increased physical concerns in COPD. Conclusions Physical concerns scores in COPD patients are partially explained by avoidance in this group. The results of the study provide evidence for the importance of evaluating avoidance in COPD patients and implicate targeting this behavior in therapeutic interventions.
Author Paweł Holas
Paweł Holas,,
, Jarosław Michałowski (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Poznaniu)
Jarosław Michałowski,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Poznaniu
, Łukasz Gawęda
Łukasz Gawęda,,
, Joanna Domagała-Kulawik
Joanna Domagała-Kulawik,,
Total number of authors5
Journal seriesRespiratory Medicine, ISSN 0954-6111, (A 30 pkt)
Issue year2017
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in EnglishAnxiety sensitivity; Avoidance; Agoraphobia; Physical concerns; COPD; Panic
ASJC Classification2740 Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
Languageen angielski
Michałowski J._agoraphobia_all_2017.pdf 248.28 KB
Score (nominal)30
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 1.169; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 3.23 (2) - 2017=3.611 (5)
Citation count*4 (2021-02-24)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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