Daily Activities: The Impact of COPD and Cognitive Dysfunction

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2021 Jul 19;36(5):acaa090 767 779-767. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acaa090.


Objective: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by airflow limitation; however, pulmonary function does not fully account for patients' functional difficulties. The primary aim of the study was to determine the association between several domains of cognition and daily activity among those with COPD.

Method: Eighty-nine former smokers completed a neuropsychological battery including measures across multiple domains of cognition, pulmonary function measures, and daily activity questionnaires. Using a cross-sectional design, we compared daily activity between former smokers with and without COPD using two measures (St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire [SGRQ] Activity Subscale and Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living [IADL] Scale) and examined the association between cognition and daily activity among those with COPD.

Results: As expected, former smokers with COPD reported more difficulty than those without COPD on both activity measures (SGRQ Activity Subscale p < .001; Lawton IADL Scale p = .040). Among former smokers with COPD, poorer delayed recall was associated with more difficulty with daily activities (SGRQ Activity Subscale) (p = .038) while adjusting for severity of airflow limitation, exercise tolerance, oxygen use, dyspnea, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that cognition is associated with daily activity in patients with COPD. Future research should examine whether cognitive interventions may help to maximize patients' engagement in daily activities.

Keywords: Activities of daily living; Cognition; Lung disease; Neuropsychology; SGRQ.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / complications
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires