Objective: Patients with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) have high disease burden due to the severity of asthma and sinonasal symptoms. There is limited research on the psychological well-being and subjective experiences of patients with AERD. This study examined levels of depression symptoms, asthma-related quality of life and asthma control among AERD patients.
Methods: Thirty-two adults with AERD and 39 patients without AERD (asthma-only) were recruited from outpatient asthma/allergy clinics. The sample was largely comprised of ethnic minority, inner-city patients who ranged in age from 19 to 84 years old. Participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Mini Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (Mini AQLQ), a self-report rating of asthma severity and spirometry testing. Asthma control and severity were determined following national guidelines.
Results: AERD patients reported lower levels of depression symptoms (p = 0.049), better overall asthma-related quality of life (p < 0.001), and perceived their asthma to be less severe (p = 0.01) compared to asthma-only patients. However, clinician ratings of asthma severity were more severe for AERD than asthma-only patients (p = 0.006). No significant differences were found between the groups on asthma controller medications or oral corticosteroid bursts for asthma.
Conclusions: AERD patients may be resilient given their low levels of depression symptoms and positive views of asthma-related impairment despite higher clinician-rated asthma severity. The adult onset nature of asthma in AERD might be a protective factor on mental health. Future studies should explore mechanisms linking AERD and positive psychological health outcomes and subjective perception of asthma.
Keywords: Mental health; minority groups; protective factors; resilience; signs and symptoms.