Predicting asthma control: The role of psychological triggers
Asthma triggers have been linked to adverse health outcomes in asthma, but little is known about their association with asthma control. Because trigger avoidance is an integral part of successful asthma management, psychological triggers in particular may be associated with suboptimal asthma control, given the difficulty of controlling them. We examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of perceived asthma triggers with self-report of asthma control impairment, symptoms, and spirometric lung function (forced expiratory volume in the 1st second, [FEV1]) in 179 adult primary care asthma patients. Perceived asthma triggers explained up to 42.5% of the variance in asthma control and symptoms, but not in FEV1 alone. Allergic triggers explained up to 12.1% of the asthma control and symptom variance, three nonallergic trigger types, air pollution/irritants, physical activity, and infection, explained up to 26.2% over and above allergic triggers, and psychological triggers up to 9.5% over and above all other triggers. Psychological triggers alone explained up to 33.9% of the variance and were the only trigger class that was consistently significant in all final multiple regression models predicting control and symptoms. Psychological triggers also predicted lower asthma control 3‐6 months later, although controlling for initial asthma control eliminated this association. In free reports of individually relevant triggers, only psychological triggers were associated with suboptimal asthma control. Trigger factors are important predictors of self-reported asthma control and symptoms but not actual lung function. Particular attention should be directed to psychological triggers as indicators of patients' perceptions of suboptimal asthma control.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA
Publication date: September 1, 2014
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