Perceived breathlessness and psychological distress among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and their spouses

Nurs Health Sci. 2014 Mar;16(1):103-11. doi: 10.1111/nhs.12073. Epub 2013 May 21.


The purpose of this study was to describe the impact of breathlessness on Jordanian patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and their spouses' perception of the patients' breathlessness. A cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational design was used with a sample of 67 Jordanian patients with COPD related breathlessness and their spouses. The Dyspnoea 12 Scale (D-12) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were administered to both patients and spouses. There was a significant positive correlation between total patients' D-12 scores and total HADS scores. Spouses who perceived the patients to have more severe breathlessness affect (D-12 affect subscale) were more likely to experience a higher level of psychological distress (HADS total). Both patients and spouses reported clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression. There was no statistical difference in total D-12 and HADS scores between COPD patients and their spouses. The finding of this study indicates the importance of healthcare providers in supporting both patients with breathlessness and their spouses and the need to develop family-centred services.

Keywords: COPD; Jordan; breathlessness; chronic disease; psychological distress; spouses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Dyspnea / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jordan
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Report
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Spouses / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult