Identification of Different Profiles of Illness Perception in COPD Patients: Results of Cluster Analysis

The Open Respiratory Medicine Journal 08 Feb 2022 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18743064-v16-e2112141



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a widespread, late-diagnosed, and difficult-to-treat disease that influences the quality of life. Despite the availability of a wide range of drugs for the treatment of COPD, none of them provides a complete cure, while the leading risk factors (primarily, smoking) persist. In this regard, illness perception and medical behavior play a key role.


The study design was cross-sectional and included 143 stable outpatients (107 men, mean age 66 ± 7.5, FEV1 51.5 ± 16.5%) who attended the faculty therapy clinic of Sechenov University. The patients were examined pulmonologically and psychiatrically (Hamilton depression and anxiety rating scales). Illness perception was assessed by a brief version of the Illness perception questionnaire (brief IPQ).


There were no significant demographic differences and differences in the clinical severity of the disease between the selected groups. Patients in the distressed group had a longer duration of illness, a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression, and more severe dyspnea after a 6-minute walk test. In contrast, patients in the disregarding group had a significantly higher prevalence of smokers and a higher number of cigarettes smoked daily, and a lower prevalence of anxiety and depression. The harmonic had the most optimal profile with low severity of anxiety and depression, but with a healthier attitude to smoking.


Perception of illness in COPD patients has a significant impact on medical behavior and levels of anxiety and depression. As such, the perception of illness deserves routine monitoring in clinical practice.

Keywords: COPD, Illness perception, Anxiety, Depression, Smoking, Dyspnea.
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