Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Physical and Mental Distress in Patients With COPD

A secondary analysis of 2016 Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS) data identified high-risk US patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who could benefit from disease management and secondary/tertiary health promotion interventions that may improve health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The analysis sought to identify subgroups of people with COPD who were at the highest risk for physical and mental distress. Researchers selected 16 relevant risk indicators in 4 health-related domains: 1) health risk behaviors, 2) lack of preventive vaccinations, 3) limited health-care access, and 4) comorbidities, as predictors of physical and mental HRQoL in the COPD population. Among the findings:

  • Most BRFSS respondents who reported a COPD diagnosis experienced physical and/or mental distress in the past 14 days.
  • Frequent physical and mental distress were more common in women aged 45‒64 years with COPD, who were also identified as white and in the lower socioeconomic group.
  • Respondents with intermediate- to high-risk behaviors, intermediate to multiple comorbidities, limited access to health care, and intermediate to low use of preventive vaccinations were more likely to report frequent physical distress.


Stellefson M, Paige SR, Barry AE, Wang MQ, Apperson A. Risk factors associated with physical and mental distress in people who report a COPD diagnosis: Latent class analysis of 2016 behavioral risk factor surveillance system data. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2019;14:809-822. doi: doi:10.2147/COPD.S194018.