Review Article

Asthma and psychological dysfunction

  • Primary Care Respiratory Journal (2011) 20, 250256 (2011)
  • doi:10.4104/pcrj.2011.00058
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Despite effective treatment, asthma outcomes remain suboptimal. Anxiety and depression occur more commonly in people with asthma than expected, and are associated with poor asthma outcomes. The direction of the relationship and the mechanisms underlying it are uncertain. Whether screening for and treating co-morbid anxiety and depression can improve asthma outcomes is unclear from the current evidence. Primary care clinicians treating asthma should be aware of the possibility of psychological dysfunction in asthmatics, particularly those with poor control. Further research is required to assess the importance of detecting and treating these conditions in community asthma care.

Author information


  1. Asthma UK Senior Research Fellow, Academic Primary Care, University of Aberdeen, UK

    • Mike Thomas
  2. Reader in Respiratory Rehabilitation, School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, UK

    • Anne Bruton
  3. Research Fellow, Division of Primary Care, University of Aberdeen, UK

    • Mandy Moffatt
  4. Senior Clinical Lecturer, Department of General Practice, University of Aberdeen, UK

    • Jennifer Cleland


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The manuscript was drafted by MT with suggestions and contributions from the other authors

Competing interests

MT is an Associate Editor of the PCRJ, but was not involved in the editorial review of, nor the decision to publish, this article

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mike Thomas.