The illness perceptions in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a qualitative study.

Eleonora Volpato, M. Pozzar, C. Valota, P. Banfi, Francesco Pagnini

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Introduction: A few studies have explored the illness perceptions as well as the mutual connection between respiratory and physical status and emotional experiences in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Aims and objectives: The main aim was to investigate the illness perceptions of people affected by COPD. Secondarily, beliefs about the connection between mind and respiratory symptoms were explored. Methods: A qualitative study using ad hoc semi-structured interviews, based on the framework approach of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, was carried out at the Respiratory Rehabilitation Unit of Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Milan (Italy) between February and June 2018. Results: Twenty-seven participants with mild to severe COPD (15 males and 12 females; Mean Age= 72.37, SD= 9.44) were involved. The thematic analysis resulted in four master themes: “illness experience”, “mind-body relationship”, “expertise”, and “future”. The major concern reported by participants was that of limitation, which contributed to their housebound and fears. These issues, together with feelings of anxiety, sadness, annoyance and nervousness, inspire to existential themes and the possible future implications. Conclusions: COPD participants believe in a strong and negative link between mind and body, whose impact on rehabilitation process, respiratory outcomes and health-related behaviours should be study further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventEuropean Respiratory Society International Congress -ERS 2019 - MADRID
Duration: 28 Sept 20192 Oct 2019


  • COPD
  • Psychosocial problems
  • Quality of Life


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