Knowledge and Attitudes of GPs in Saxony-Anhalt concerning the Psychological Aspects of Bronchial Asthma: A Questionnaire Study

Biopsychosoc Med. 2010 Dec 20;4(1):23. doi: 10.1186/1751-0759-4-23.


Bronchial Asthma is a worldwide condition with particularly high prevalence in first world countries. The reasons are multifactorial but a neglected area is the psychological domain. It is well known that heavy emotions can trigger attacks and that depression negatively affects treatment outcomes. It is also known that personality type has a greater effect on disease prevalence than in many other conditions. However, many potential psychological treatments are hardly considered, neither in treatment guidelines nor in reviews by asthma specialists. Moreover, there is very little research concerning the beliefs and practices of doctors regarding psychological treatments. Using a questionnaire survey we ascertained that local GPs in Saxony-Anhalt have reasonably good knowledge about the psychological elements of asthma; a third consider it to be some of the influence (20-40% aetiology) and a further third consider it to be even more important than that (at least 40% total aetiology). Our GPs use psychosomatic counseling sometimes or usually in the areas of sport and smoking (circa 85% GPs), although less so regarding breathing techniques and relaxation (c40% usually or sometimes do this) However despite this knowledge they refer to the relevant clinicians very rarely (98% sometimes, usually or always refer to a respiratory physician compared with only 11% referring for psychological help).