Gender moderates the effects of exercise therapy on health-related quality of life among COPD patients

Chest. 2001 Jan;119(1):70-6. doi: 10.1378/chest.119.1.70.


Study objectives: To determine whether long-term treatment with exercise therapy results in more favorable, disease-specific, health-related quality of life (HRQL) compared with short-term treatment with exercise therapy; and to determine whether there are gender differences in disease-specific HRQL among individuals randomized into the two treatment groups.

Design: Randomized clinical trial.

Setting: Center-based exercise therapy unit at a university.

Participants: One hundred forty patients with COPD; 118 completed trial.

Interventions: Short-term exercise therapy (3 months); long-term exercise therapy (18 months).

Measurements: Chronic Disease Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ).

Results: After 3 months of treatment, there were significant improvements in all CRQ scores for men and women (p < 0.01), and for the total sample (p < 0.01). At 18 months, individuals randomized into the long-term group had significantly more favorable scores than the short-term group for dyspnea (p = 0.03), fatigue (p < 0.01), emotional function (p = 0.04), and mastery (p = 0.04). However, these effects were moderated by gender. That is, men in the long-term group reported significantly more favorable scores than men in the short-term group for dyspnea (0.04), fatigue (p < 0.001), emotional function (p = 0.02), and mastery (p = 0.02). At the 18-month assessment, there were no differences between long-term and short-term exercise therapy for women on any of the subscales of the CRQ.

Conclusions: Taken collectively, the CRQ data demonstrate that long-term exercise therapy has little added benefit for women over short-term exercise therapy; however, men derive significant benefits from extended training.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Vital Capacity