Exploring the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults with asthma: A quantitative study

05 Aug 2021
Respiratory conditions
  • COVID-19
  • Asthma
Type of resource
Dublin 2021
Kirstie McClatchey, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Clinical Research Results Aim: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic in early 2020, and some people living with asthma may be at an increased risk of severe disease with COVID-19. We wanted to explore the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in those living with asthma.Method: People living with asthma were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey via the REgister for Asthma researCH (REACH) database and Asthma UK social media. The survey collected demographic information and assessed psychological impact using validated measures including: the Impact of Events Scale-Revised (IES-R), General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). The survey also explored the views of COVID-19 health information provision and the experiences of managing asthma during the pandemic. Results: From mid-May to late-June 2020, 849 people living with asthma completed the survey. Most were aged between 36-45 years (n=254, 30%); female (n=753, 89%). The majority perceived their asthma as moderate (n=390, 45.9%). Psychological impact measures identified post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a clinical concern in 61% of the sample (IES-R: Mdn=30, range=0-88), 77% were experiencing anxiety symptoms (GAD-7: Mdn=9, range=0-21), and 77% were experiencing depression symptoms (PHQ-9: Mdn=10, range=0-27). Over half felt that as someone with asthma, they had not been given adequate health information about COVID-19 (n=495, 58%). Two thirds also felt that the pandemic had changed the way they thought about or managed their asthma day-to-day (n=568, 67%). Examples of changes included: using preventer inhalers more regularly; monitoring peak flows more often.Conclusion: Our study highlights that those living with asthma may be experiencing psychological distress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological intervention and provision of asthma specific COVID-19 information may help alleviate distress. Implementation Science/Service Development Research Ideas on Respiratory Conditions and Tobacco Dependency Abstract Declaration of Interest None. References and Clinical Trial Registry Information