Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is mainly related to smoking habit and is characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. The airflow limitation is usually both progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases. Worldwide and in Greece, COPD constitutes a major epidemiological issue. Incidence of depression and anxiety is high in the COPD population. Most studies on depression and anxiety in COPD deal with factors that are positively correlated with both of these comorbidities. The aim of our study was to assess whether two variables, sense of coherence (SOC) and perception of family support (FS), are negatively correlated with depressive and anxiety symptoms in outpatients with COPD. According to Aaron Antonovsky, sense of coherence refers to the ability of individuals to make sense of and manage events. Studies in other diseases suggest that sense of family support has a significant impact on the course and outcome of the disease, yet a limited number of reports across literature addresses the role of family support in COPD patients. In our present study one hundred twenty two (98 men and 24 women) outpatients with pure COPD were included. Age and years of education were recorded. Severity of COPD was assessed with spirometry before and after bronchodilation. All patients replied to self- administered questionnaires on depression (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI), anxiety (Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Scale, STAI), family support (Family Support Scale, FSS-13) and sense of coherence (Sense of Coherence Scale, SOC). According to our results the mean BDI depression score was 11.65 (SD 7.35), mean trait anxiety score was 40.69 (SD 11.19), mean SOC score was 54.62 (SD 7.40) and mean FS score was 64.58 (SD 11.63). Women patients had higher anxiety scores and lower sense of family support compared to men. Significant negative correlations were evidenced between depression and sense of coherence as well as between anxiety and family support. Step-wise multiple linear regression analysis verified the results and quantified the aforementioned correlations. Notably, raising scores in sense of family support by one point reduces anxiety scores by 0.14 points, and increasing sense of coherence scores by one point reduces depression scores by 0.21 points. In sum, our study confirms the presence of high levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms in COPD patients, with females being in a more disadvantaged position as they tend to have higher levels of both. Sense of coherence and family support are both protective psychological factors against the risk of developing
anxiety and depressive symptoms in these patients.

Key words: Chronic obstructive pulmonary, sense of coherence, family support, anxiety, depression

A. Tselebis, D. Bratis, A. Pachi, G. Moussas, A. Karkanias, M. Harikiopoulou, E. Theodorakopoulou, E. Kosmas, I. Ilias, N. Siafakas, A. Vgontzas, N. Tzanakis (page108) - Full article (Greek)