The prevalence of anxiety and depression in patients with chronic non-productive cough

L. P.A. McGarvey*, L. A. Gamble, C. Carton, L. G. Heaney, R. C. Lowry, D. R.T. Shepherd, J. Macmahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is evidence to suggest that chronic cough is associated with certain psychological dimensions such as anxiety and depression. We present preliminary findings from an ongoing study exploring the psychological profile of patients with chronic non - productive cough (CNPC). 33 patients (22 female, median age 53, [range 26-77 years]) attended the chest clinic, Belfast City Hospital. All patients were non smokers with no previous history of respiratory disease. The median duration of cough was 48 months [range 6-240 months]. Spirometry was normal in all cases. All patients completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) Scale and the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) during their initial consultation. A significant correlation was found between the different scales on the HAD and the STAI validating the reliability of these as a measure of anxiety and depression. The mean anxiety and depression scores on the HAD for the whole group were 6.5 (SD 3.75) and 3.84 (SD 3.204) respectively. HAD scores indicated a significant level of anxiety in 3 patients and a borderline level in 10 patients. Although there was no evidence of a significant level of depression 6 patients did reach a borderline score. There was no significant difference between male and female patients. The level of anxiety and depression did not correlate with patients age or duration of cough. Patients with CNPC do not appear to have a higher level of anxiety and depression than the general population. Further work is required to characterise the psychological functioning of subgroups of patients with chronic cough, in particular those with no clear aetiology, or who fail to respond to diagnosis specific therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A64
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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