The impact of psychological distress on functional disability in asthma: results from the Canadian community health survey

Psychosomatics. Jan-Feb 2009;50(1):42-9. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.50.1.42.


Background: Asthma is associated with decreased health-related quality of life and increased physical comorbidity and mortality, high rates of clinic visits and hospitalizations, and loss of productivity in the workplace.

Objective: The objective of the present study was to determine the joint effect of psychological distress and asthma on functional disability in a community sample.

Method: The authors used data from The Canadian Community and Health Survey (N=62,274). Psychological distress was measured by the 10-item Kessler (K-10) instrument. Asthma, disability days, self-assessed health status, and long-term reduction in activities were assessed by personal interview.

Results: The prevalence of functional disability was higher in subjects with asthma and comorbid psychological distress than in individuals with either asthma or psychological distress alone.

Conclusion: Detecting and managing psychological problems might be particularly beneficial for persons with asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • ROC Curve