Changing health behaviour outcomes in asthmatic patients: a pilot intervention study

Soc Sci Med. 1988;26(3):359-64. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(88)90401-7.


Starting from a prior study, in which cognitive and coping variables proved to be related to well-being, the use of medical resources and the absence from work in asthmatic patients, the authors constructed a cognitive-educational (a combination of health education and rational emotive behaviour modification) intervention programme aiming at altering coping behaviour in asthmatic patients in order to influence emotional distress and use of medical resources. The effects of the programme were assessed by means of a pre-test-post-test control group design. The programme was offered to ten patients and their partners. Both before and after the intervention cognitive attitudes (optimism, locus of control, and shame or stigma), coping behaviour in attack situations (minimizing the seriousness of the attack, rational action and reacting emotionally), coping in daily life (maintaining a restrictive life-style, focussing on asthma and hiding asthma), emotional distress (anxiety, anger, and depression), and the use of medication were measured in the experimental and control group. It was found that patients who received the programme became less preoccupied with their asthma and reported significantly less emotional distress (anxiety and anger) in daily life. In addition, they used less maintenance medication (corticosteroids). The authors wish to stress the importance of using medical variables such as the number of attacks as covariates in this type of research.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / therapy
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychotherapy, Rational-Emotive
  • Sick Role*