How to live with COPD: patient´s perception.

  • Francisca Muñoz-Cobos Andalusian Health Service. Spain.
  • Nieves Acero-Guasch Baleares Island Health Service. Spain.
  • Rebeca Cuenca-del-Moral Andalusian Health Service. Spain.
  • Pilar Barnestein-Fonseca Family and Community Medicine Teaching Unit of Malaga. Spain.
  • Francisca Leiva-Fernández Family and Community Medicine Teaching Unit of Malaga. Spain.
  • Antonio García-Ruiz Farmacoeconomy and Clinical Therapautic Department, Faculty of Medicine, Malaga University, Malaga, Spain.
Keywords: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Cognition, Qualitative Research


The aim of this study is to determine the mental model that patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)have about their illness analyzed by the Leventhal´s Common Sense of Self-Regulation Model. An exploratory-descriptive study using qualitative methodology was performed. We included COPD-diagnosed patients attending three urban and a rural primary care centres. We used video-taped group interviews and transcribed them using Atlas.Ti 5.2 program. 22 group interviews (2009 - 2011) and 58 patients were included. There were 3 additional sessions to final inform validation. The results show that patients did not have a defined mental model about COPD: this disease was insufficiently recognized; diagnosis was made in exacerbations and it was confused with other diseases; the cause of illness was related to tobacco consumption and to “something else”: fumes, colds and hard work. Patients tended to minimize their symptoms and limitations. Participants had wrong beliefs about colds, smoking only a few cigarettes effects and damage of inhaled treatment. Emotions as despair, resignation and fear were reported. We conclude that COPD patients showed confusion about many aspects of the disease (causes, symptoms, treatments). It was difficult to identify a mental model of the disease among COPD patients. 



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Author Biographies

Francisca Muñoz-Cobos, Andalusian Health Service. Spain.

Family physician.


Doctor of medicine.

Nieves Acero-Guasch, Baleares Island Health Service. Spain.
Family physician.
Rebeca Cuenca-del-Moral, Andalusian Health Service. Spain.
Family physician.
Pilar Barnestein-Fonseca, Family and Community Medicine Teaching Unit of Malaga. Spain.
Doctor of Science. Senior researcher. Family and Community Medicine Teaching Unit of Malaga. Spain.
Francisca Leiva-Fernández, Family and Community Medicine Teaching Unit of Malaga. Spain.
Family physician. Doctor of medicine.Family and Community Medicine Teaching Unit of Malaga. Spain.
Antonio García-Ruiz, Farmacoeconomy and Clinical Therapautic Department, Faculty of Medicine, Malaga University, Malaga, Spain.
Doctor of Medicine. Teacher. Farmacoeconomy and Clinical Therapautic Department, Faculty of Medicine, Malaga University, Malaga, Spain.


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How to Cite
Muñoz-Cobos, F., Acero-Guasch, N., Cuenca-del-Moral, R., Barnestein-Fonseca, P., Leiva-Fernández, F., & García-Ruiz, A. (2015). How to live with COPD: patient´s perception. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 32(1), 18-31.
Clinical and Health Psychology