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BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) co-exists with depression, but important questions remain about the determinants of this association. PURPOSE: We examined the association of depressive symptoms with three aspects of COPD: self-reports of physician-diagnosed COPD, chronic respiratory symptoms, and airway obstruction. METHODS: We used data from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study (n = 7,995). Airway obstruction was assessed by spirometry. A score ≥4 on the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale was used as a cutoff for depressive symptoms. RESULTS: Self-reported COPD was positively associated with depressive symptoms but airway obstruction was not. Compared to those free of both respiratory symptoms and airway obstruction those reporting respiratory symptoms were more likely to have depressive symptoms regardless of whether they had obstruction or not. CONCLUSIONS: In this Chinese population, a self-reported physician diagnosis of COPD and symptom perception, but not airway obstruction, appeared as main determinants of depressive symptoms.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Behav Med

Publication Date





408 - 415


Aged, China, Cohort Studies, Depression, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Psychometrics, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive, Quality of Life, Self Report, Smoking