Loneliness, depression, and social support of patients with COPD and their spouses

Public Health Nurs. 1993 Dec;10(4):245-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.1993.tb00060.x.


Thirty clients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and their spouses were interviewed to examine differences in the relationships among loneliness, depression, and social support. Data were collected during structured in-home interviews using the UCLA loneliness scale, the Center for Epidemiological Studies depression scale, and the social support questionnaire. The clients and spouses did not differ significantly on measures of loneliness and depression, with mean scores for both groups higher than those in other comparable groups. Spouses, however, tended to be a little lonelier than clients, and clients tended to be a little more depressed than spouses. The two groups were also similar with respect to the number of people in their social networks but different as to network composition. Spouses were less satisfied with their networks than clients. Social support satisfaction was linked to loneliness and depression for clients but not for spouses. Results of the study suggest that community nurses working in home settings must be sensitive to clients' and spouses' psychologic reactions to COPD, which may be expressed in feelings of loneliness and depression.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / nursing
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / psychology*
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires