For millions of adults, effective control of asthma requires a regimen of care that may be compromised by psychological factors, such as anxiety and depression. This study estimated the prevalence and risk factors for serious psychological distress (SPD) and explored their relationship to health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among adults with asthma in the United States.
We analyzed data from 186,738 adult respondents from the 2001-2007 US National Health Interview Survey. We calculated weighted average prevalence estimates of current asthma and SPD by demographic characteristics and health-related factors. We used logistic regression analysis to calculate odds ratios for factors that may have predicted asthma, SPD, and HRQOL.
From 2001 to 2007, the average annual prevalence of current asthma was 7.0% and the average prevalence of SPD was 3.0%. Among adults with asthma, the prevalence of SPD was 7.5% (95% CI, 7.0%-8.1%). A negative association between HRQOL and SPD was found for all adults, independent of asthma status. A similar pattern of risk factors predicted SPD and the co-occurrence of SPD and asthma, although adults with asthma who reported lower socioeconomic status, a history of smoking or alcohol use, and more comorbid chronic conditions had significantly higher odds of SPD.
This research suggests the importance of mental health screening for persons with asthma and the need for clinical and community-based interventions to target modifiable lifestyle factors that contribute to psychological distress and make asthma worse.