Asthma Severity, Psychiatric Morbidity, and Quality of Life: Correlation with Inhaled Corticosteroid Dose

Savithri B. Bonala, Desiderio Pina, Bernard A. Silverman, Sreenivasrao Amara, Clifford W. Bassett, Arlene T. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objectives. Psychiatric phenomena in asthma has been debated for some time. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are a significant part of treatment. We attempted to quantify the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity relative to asthma severity, quality of life (QOL), and ICS dose. Data Sources. Fifty asthmatic patients (18 ≥ X ≤ 75 years) on ICS, attending an urban clinic had asthma and ICS dose stratified by symptom severity and preparation potency. Peak flow and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) were measured. Patients completed general QOL and disease-specific QOL questionnaires, along with psychiatric rating scales. Results. Patients (n = 50) clustered in the 40-59 year range (n = 27, 54%) and were predominantly female (n = 44, 88%) Hispanics (n = 30, 60%), with mild-moderate asthma (n = 18, 36%) and on low-dose ICS (n = 22, 44%). FEV1 ranged from 32 to 123 (mean 76.98, SE 3.01). Peak flow ranged from 210 to 590 (mean 407.83, SE 13.24). Prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms were higher than expected (Kendall's tau-c, n = 50, P < .01). Independently, high ICS dose and asthma severity correlated directly with all measures of psychiatric morbidity (Pearson's r0.781, P < .01). High ICS dose correlated inversely with SF-36 Mental Component Scale (Pearson's r0.681, P < .01) and directly with FEV 1 and peak flow when age/sex adjusted (Spearman's rho: 0.660, P < .001). Conclusions. Psychiatric morbidity is more prevalent in this population and impacts negatively on QOL. Use of high-dose ICS benefited pulmonary function and "physical" QOL, yet may have negatively affected patients' mental well-being. Longitudinal follow-up, extension of sample size, and better study control would allow closer approximation of possible negative associations with ICS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-699
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 31 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Psychiatric morbidity
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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