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Original Article


Gender Gap in Psychogenic Factors May Affect Perception of Asthma Symptoms


R Nowobilski,1,4 M Furgał,2 R Polczyk,3 B de Barbaro,2 A Szczeklik1

1Department of Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
2Department of Psychiatry, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
3Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
4Department of Rehabilitation, University School of Physical Education, Krakow, Poland

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2011; Vol. 21(3): 193-198



Background and Objective: Clinical practice suggests that asthma coping strategies might be different in women and men. The aim of this study was to compare the relationship between psychological variables and the perception of asthma symptoms in women and men.

Patients and Methods: A total of 165 adult asthma patients with mild to severe persistent asthma were studied. We performed spirometric tests, measured dyspnea on the Borg scale, assessed psychological health using the Goldberg 28-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28), and measured the tendency towards social desirability using the lie scale from the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire.

Results: Women had significantly worse results than men on the GHQ somatic symptoms and anxiety/ insomnia subscales and on the overall scale that measures the general index of perceived health. Sex was a statistically significant moderator on the correlation between dyspnea and both the tendency to lie and the GHQ-28 functional disorders/social dysfunction subscale. The correlation between dyspnea and the tendency to lie was positive in women and negative in men.

Conclusions: Perceived dyspnea is correlated with psychological health and the tendency to lie and the correlation between perceived dyspnea and certain psychological variables is different in women and men.

Key words: Asthma. Psychosocial factors. Health-related quality of life questionnaires. Dyspnea. Gender.