Psychological approaches to the treatment of asthma

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1992 Aug;60(4):639-43. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.60.4.639.


Outcome literature on psychological treatment for asthma covers psychoeducational self-management programs, relaxation therapy, biofeedback, and family therapy. Psychoeducational approaches now being standardized in a national program are cost-effective. They produce improved adjustment, increased medication compliance, greater perceived self-competence in managing symptoms, and decreased use of medical services. Significant effects have been found for relaxation therapy, although it is not clear whether the effectiveness depends on whole-body relaxation or specifically facial- or respiratory-muscle relaxation. Family therapy is helpful to some asthmatics. Active components in these methods remain to be identified as do the populations whom they can best serve. Biofeedback for respiratory resistance, trachea sounds, and vagal tone shows promise but has not been given adequate clinical testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / psychology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Biofeedback, Psychology
  • Child
  • Family Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Self Care / psychology