Background: Psychological factors such as anxiety and depression are increasingly being recognized as influencing the onset and course of asthma.
Methods: We obtained Patient Health Questionnaire 8 depression data from 41 states and territories using the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Heath risk behaviors, social and emotional support, life satisfaction, disability, and four health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) questions were available for all states and territories (n = 18,856 with asthma). Five additional HRQOL questions were asked in three states (n = 1345 persons with asthma), and questions assessing asthma control were available for nine states (n = 3943 persons with asthma).
Results: Persons with asthma were significantly more likely than those without asthma to have current depression (19.4% vs. 7.7%), a lifetime diagnosis of depression (30.6% vs. 14.4%), and anxiety (23.5% vs. 10.2%). For most domains examined, there was a dose-response relationship between level of depression severity and mean number of days of impaired HRQOL in the past 30 days, as well as an increased prevalence of life dissatisfaction, inadequate social support, disability, and risk behaviors, such as smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity, among those with asthma. Moreover, depression and anxiety were associated with a decreased level of asthma control, including more visits to the doctor or emergency room, inability to do usual activities, and more days of symptoms compared to those without depression or anxiety.
Conclusion: This research indicates that a multidimensional, integrative approach to health care should be considered when assessing patients with asthma.