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The development of a self-report measure designed to assess illness- specific catastrophic thoughts in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is described. The measure is then used to test hypotheses about the relationship between catastrophic thoughts and anxiety in COPD. Preliminary findings suggest that the measure, the Interpretation of Breathing Problems Questionnaire (IBPQ), has good psychometric properties. Tests of specific hypotheses indicated that more severe catastrophic thoughts were associated with higher levels of anxiety. Catastrophic thoughts and anxiety were also more severe in unsafe than in safe situations. Severity of catastrophic thoughts was a significant predictor of anxiety, particularly of situation specific (IBPQ) anxiety. Satisfaction with social support, but not age, duration, or severity of illness, was also important, particularly in safe situations. Implications for a cognitive model of anxiety in COPD, and for treatment of anxiety in this disorder, are briefly discussed. Limitations of the study are noted. Suggestions are made for further research.

Original publication




Journal article


Cognitive Therapy and Research

Publication Date





573 - 585