A Prospective Cohort StudyEt prospektivt kohorte studie
Only a few smaller studies have addressed the effect of psychosocial factors on risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in spite of the potential for psychosocial stress to affect development of the disease through immunological and behavioural pathways. The aim of this study is to determine the relation between various psychosocial risk factors, individually and accumulated, and COPD hospitalisation and deaths. A total of 8728 women and men free of asthma and COPD participating in the Copenhagen City Heart Study, were asked comprehensive questions on major life events, work-related stress, social network, vital exhaustion, economic hardship, and sleep medication in 1991-1993 and followed in nationwide registers until 2009, with <2% loss to follow-up. During follow-up, 461 women and 352 men were hospitalized with or died from COPD. Major life events in adult life and vital exhaustion were both associated with a higher risk of COPD in an exposure-dependent manner, with high vital exhaustion being associated with a hazard ratio [HR] of 2.31 (95% CI 1.69-3.16) for women and 2.48 (1.69-3.64) for men. A higher risk of COPD was also found in participants who experienced economic hardship or had a dysfunctional social network. Furthermore, the accumulation of psychosocial risk factors was associated with a higher risk of COPD in both women (HR = 2.40, 1.78-3.22) and men (HR = 1.93, 1.33-2.80). Psychosocial vulnerability may be important to consider both in clinical practice and when planning future preventive strategies against COPD.