Quality of life in tuberculosis: patient and provider perspectives

Qual Life Res. 2004 Apr;13(3):639-52. doi: 10.1023/B:QURE.0000021317.12945.f0.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a persistent problem in the United States; however, little is known about its impact on functioning and quality of life (QOL) among people with TB. The purpose of this study is to describe the impact of TB on patients' QOL by using focus groups to assess the domains of QOL that are affected. Participants included patients (n = 10) who received treatment for active TB and physicians (n = 4) and nurses (n = 9) caring for patients with TB at a public health clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. TB affected all predicted domains of QOL, including general health perceptions, somatic sensation, psychological health, spiritual well-being, and physical, social and role functioning. Social stigmatization, isolation, pill burden, long duration of therapy, sexual dysfunction, loss of income, and fear were additional specific problems related to TB. Surprisingly, 11% (33) of the comments described benefits of TB illness, including increased spirituality and improved life perspectives. In addition, four additional QOL domains and three elements of treatment specific to TB which substantially impact QOL were identified. While patients and clinicians both identified issues in many areas of QOL, only patients mentioned the impact on sexual function, spirituality and improved life perspectives. Despite available curative therapy, TB and its treatment still have significant short and long-term consequences on patients' QOL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Baltimore
  • Community Health Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Public Health Administration
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Spirituality
  • Stereotyping
  • Tuberculosis / physiopathology
  • Tuberculosis / psychology*