Date of Award

Fall 1993

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Fitzgerald Miller, Judith

Second Advisor

Stollenwerk, Ruth M.

Third Advisor

McMahon, Anne

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine differences in dyspnea and coping between individuals with COPD who participate in a pulmonary rehabilitation program and those who do not. Research questions posed were: 1) What is the difference in the combined coping score (use x effectiveness) of persons with COPD who participate in a pulmonary rehabilitation program and those who do not? 2) Is there a difference in the types of coping (subscale scores) between persons with COPD who participate in a pulmonary rehabilitation program and those who do not? 3) What is the difference between the severity of dyspnea reported by persons with COPD who participate in a pulmonary rehabilitation program and those who do not? 4) Is there a relationship between a combined coping score and the severity of dyspnea in patients with COPD? A convenience sample of thirty-six individuals with COPD who participated in a pulmonary rehabilitation program and twenty-seven individuals who have not participated in a program consented and participated in the study. Individuals completed the Jalowiec Coping Scale OCS), the Dyspnea Visual Analogue Scale (DVAS), and a demographic data form. Analysis of data revealed that there were no significant differences between the groups on a combined coping score or dyspnea severity. The only significant difference between subscale coping scores was that pulmonary rehabilitation participants used more confrontive type coping strategies (p= .02). No significant relationships were found between combined coping scores and dyspnea severity. Data analyzed for mean use, effectiveness, and combined coping scores for both groups together revealed that the COPD patients in this sample used optimistic and confrontive type coping styles more consistently than evasive, self-reliant, palliative, supportant, emotive and fatalistic coping styles. The results of this study are initial attempts to explore relationships between coping effectiveness and dyspnea and to understand coping styles of persons with COPD. An understanding of these phenomena is necessary in order for nurses to develop interventions that will facilitate more effective coping with a chronic illness.

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