Personality, adherence, asthma control and health-related quality of life in young adult asthmatics

M Axelsson, M Emilsson, E Brink, J Lundgren, K Torén, J Lötvall
Respiratory Medicine 2009, 103 (7): 1033-40

BACKGROUND: Striving for improved adherence and asthma control is of vital concern in today's asthma management. Several influential factors have been identified, but the importance of personality traits has been insufficiently explored. The aim was first to determine whether personality traits in young adult asthmatics are related to asthma control and health-related quality of life (HRQL), and second to examine the influences of personality traits on adherence to regular asthma medication treatment.

METHODS: Young adult asthmatics, 22 years of age (n=268) completed questionnaires. Statistical analyses were performed.

RESULTS: The personality traits Negative Affectivity and Impulsivity correlated negatively with asthma control, whereas in women Hedonic Capacity correlated positively with asthma control. Negative Affectivity, Impulsivity, Hedonic Capacity, Alexithymia and asthma control predicted the mental dimension of HRQL. Asthma control and physical activity predicted the physical dimension of HRQL. Among respondents with regular asthma medication (n=109), Impulsivity correlated negatively with adherence. In men, Antagonism and Alexithymia were associated with low adherence. Additionally, Alexithymia, Hedonic Capacity and Negative Affectivity showed non-linear relationships with adherence, meaning that initially increased scores on these personality traits scales were associated with increased adherence but higher scores did not increase adherence. Respondents who were prescribed a single inhaler combining ICS and LABA reported higher adherence than those with monotherapies.

CONCLUSION: These data suggest that personality can influence how asthma patients adhere to asthma medication treatment, and report their control and HRQL. Tools determining personality traits may be useful in the future in individualizing management of asthma patients.

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