, Volume 192, Issue 4, pp 519-524
Date: 11 May 2014

Collateral Damage: Depressive Symptoms in the Partners of COPD Patients

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Depression is a frequent comorbidity in COPD patients and is associated with greater physical impairment, increased health-care utilization, and worse outcomes. The presence of depressive symptoms in the partners of COPD patients has not been evaluated.


We evaluated the partners of 230 consecutive COPD patients included in a prospective study. Depressive symptoms were evaluated using Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI) on the first day of admission for COPD exacerbation. Patients were followed-up for 1 year.


Significant depressive symptoms were present in 39.6 % of the COPD patients and in 40.9 % of their partners. Beck scores were higher in the partners of patients with severe airflow obstruction and in those with ≥2 exacerbations and ≥1 hospitalizations for COPD exacerbation during the 1-year follow-up. The BDI score of the patients’ partners was significantly correlated with the BDI score of the COPD patients (r s = 0.422). In multivariate analysis, depressive symptoms in the COPD patients were an independent predictor of depressive symptoms in their partners (OR 4.136, 95 % CI 1.991–8.594; p < 0.001).


A large proportion of the partners of COPD patients present significant depressive symptoms. The identification of those patients and their partners represents a possible target for intervention.