Posttraumatic stress disorder following asthma attack: The role of agency beliefs in mediating psychiatric morbidity

Ernest H. Wagner, Mark Hoelterhoff, Man Cheung Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: The link between serious illness and subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychiatric comorbidity has been established. In populations with asthma, however, few studies have investigated this link, or what psychological mechanisms mediate it. Healthcare guidance for chronic conditions, and PTSD literature, highlight “agency beliefs” as a direction for investigation.

Aims: To determine the prevalence of PTSD following asthma attack, and investigate whether agency beliefs mediate PTSD and comorbid psychiatric symptoms in this population.

Method: We recruited 110 adults with asthma from online peer support forums. Participants completed the Asthma Symptom Checklist, PTSD Checklist, GHQ-28, General Self-Efficacy scale, and Multidimensional Health Locus of Control scale.

Results: 20% of our sample met criteria for PTSD. Regression results indicated that higher asthma severity significantly predicted PTSD and psychiatric co-morbidity. Lower self-efficacy significantly predicted PTSD symptoms while controlling for asthma severity, however Locus of Control (LoC) did not improve the model further. Self-efficacy, but not LoC, significantly partially mediated the effect of asthma severity on PTSD severity and psychiatric co-morbidity.

Conclusions: PTSD and other psychiatric symptoms in asthma populations are mediated in part by self-efficacy. Safeguarding and improving self-efficacy in this population is an important area for future research and intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-350
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number4
Early online date4 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • PTSD
  • psychiatric co-morbidity
  • self-efficacy
  • locus of contro
  • chronic illness
  • agentic beliefs


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