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Breathlessness, anxiety, depression and function - the BAD-F study: a cross-sectional, population prevalence study in adults.

Currow, David C; Chang, Sungwon; Reddel, Helen K; Kochovska, Slavica; Ferreira, Diana; Johnson, Miriam; Ekström, Magnus


David C Currow

Sungwon Chang

Helen K Reddel

Slavica Kochovska

Diana Ferreira

Magnus Ekström


Chronic breathlessness is associated with depression, but its relationship to anxiety is less clear.
This study evaluated associations between chronic breathlessness and: anxiety; depression; functional status in the general population.
This cross sectional cohort of consenting adults (≥18 years) used an online survey. Quota sampling (n=3,000) was employed reflecting the 2016 national census for sex, age and place of residence. Other data included: Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression and Anxiety (PHQ-4); the modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) breathlessness scale and the Australia-modified Karnofsky Performance Scale (AKPS). Multinomial logistic regression assessed predictors.
2977 respondents had all relevant scores; female- 51.2%; median age 45.0 (range 18-92). Prevalence of breathlessness (mMRC ≥ 2) was 2.4%; anxiety 6.0%; depression 2.7%; co-existing anxiety/depression 6.1% and poorer functional status (AKPS ≤60) 1.6%.
Poorest function was in the co-existing anxiety/depression group with 11.6%. The highest proportions of people with breathlessness were found in the co-existing anxiety/depression group (10.6%) and depression only (8.8%).
In multinomial regression, depression only and co-existing anxiety/depression were predicted by older age, longer duration of breathlessness, and poorer functional status (AKPS ≤60). The relationship between poorer functional status and co-existing anxiety/depression was striking (OR 16.1; 95% 8.3, 31.4).
Adjusted odds ratios for breathlessness and: depression only was 5.5 (95% CI 2.3,12.9); and 5.1 for co-existing anxiety/depression group (95% CI 2.7,9.7).
Clinically important breathlessness (mMRC ≥2) was associated with depression only and co-existing anxiety/depression. Poorer function associated with psychological morbidity in the general population requires further research.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Journal of pain and symptom management
Print ISSN 0885-3924
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Currow, D. C., Chang, S., Reddel, H. K., Kochovska, S., Ferreira, D., Johnson, M., & Ekström, M. (in press). Breathlessness, anxiety, depression and function - the BAD-F study: a cross-sectional, population prevalence study in adults. Journal of pain and symptom management,
Keywords Chronic breathlessness; Anxiety; Depression; Population survey; Prevalence study
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