COPD-Related Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Patient Perspectives

Camilla F Christiansen, Anders Løkke, Vibeke Bregnballe, Thomas Skovhus Prior, Ingeborg Farver-Vestergaard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Anxiety in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is prevalent but often unidentified and therefore not adequately managed. Clinicians find it difficult to detect anxiety symptoms and to differentiate subclinical anxiety from anxiety disorders, because of the considerable overlap between symptoms of COPD and anxiety.

PURPOSE: We synthesized existing qualitative research on patients' experiences of COPD-related anxiety with the purpose of gaining a richer understanding and proposing a model of the construct.

METHODS: Searches for qualitative studies of patients' experiences of COPD-related anxiety were conducted independently by two authors in the databases of PubMed (MEDLINE), CINAHL (EBSCO), and PsycInfo (APA). English-language studies including patients diagnosed with COPD were reviewed, and data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 41 studies were included in the review. Four themes related to COPD-related anxiety were identified: initial events; internal maintaining factors; external maintaining factors; and behavioral maintaining factors. Based on the identified four themes, a conceptual model of COPD-related anxiety from the patient perspective was developed.

CONCLUSION: A conceptual model of COPD-related anxiety from the patient perspective is now available, with the potential to inform future attempts at improving identification and management of COPD-related anxiety. Future research should focus on the development of a COPD-specific anxiety questionnaire containing domains that are relevant from the patient perspective.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Pages (from-to)1031-1046
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/complications
  • Anxiety/diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Databases, Factual
  • Patients


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