Psychopathology in difficult asthma: Review

L.C.J. Prins, M.A.C. van Son, A.R.J. van Keimpema, D. van Ranst, A.M. Antonissen-Pommer, J.W.G. Meijer, V.J.M. Pop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Within the asthma population, difficult asthma (DA) is a severe condition in which patients present with frequent exacerbations, hospitalizations and emergency room visits. The identification and treatment of psychopathology is included in the management of DA. Psychopathology is supposed to predispose patients to DA or vice versa; psychopathology may develop as a consequence of DA. We reviewed the available literature on empirical findings regarding psychopathology in adult patients with DA.
Studies in English language journals using MEDLINE, Cochrane and PsycINFO databases, were retrieved by an electronic search published from 1990 till July 2014.
Literature on psychopathology in DA is scarce. The search identified 16 articles of which only 6 articles were specifically about psychopathology in adult patients with DA. Almost half of the patients with DA had evidence of psychopathology at both syndrome and symptom level. Moreover, psychopathology appeared to be related to frequent exacerbations in patients with DA.
This literature review suggests a high prevalence of psychopathology of patients with DA, although it remains unclear whether psychopathology occurs more often in DA compared to “stable asthma”. More research is needed on a possible role of psychopathology on clinical signs and symptoms in DA.
Keywords: Difficult asthma, psychopathology, psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-592
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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