Differences in smoking behaviors and readiness to change for patients with COPD and differing categories of depressive symptoms: a descriptive cross-sectional design

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMC pulmonary medicine








COPD; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Depression; Smoking; Smoking cessation


BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the world with nearly 90% of cases caused by tobacco smoking. Nearly 40% of people with COPD are diagnosed with depression which impacts quality of life and smoking cessation. The purpose of this study was to describe factors influencing smoking behaviors and readiness to change in people with comorbid COPD and depression. METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional design was used. A convenience sample of 222 participants self-reported and/or had a documented diagnosis of COPD. Participants completed study measures which included the PHQ-9 for depressive symptoms, assessment of smoking behaviors using The Cigarette Dependence Scale, report of readiness to change using The Smoking Stage of Change Questionnaire, The Smoking Decisional Balance Questionnaire, and The Processes of Change Questionnaire. Electronic and paper questionnaires were used. Data was stored in RedCap and analyzed using SPSS version 26. Based on variable type, descriptive and comparative analyses were conducted using ANOVA, t-test, chi-square, Pearson correlation, linear regression, and multiple linear regression to determine the relationships between smoking behaviors, COPD, and depressive symptoms. RESULTS: Only 18 participants were classified as having no depressive symptoms. Participants who smoked had high nicotine dependence and wanted to quit smoking. Overall, participants saw more cons to smoking and were engaged in the processes of change. The majority of participants were in the maintenance or contemplation stage. Cigarette dependence could decrease by 9% if depressive symptoms are treated. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to assess COPD patients for depression and to assess COPD patients' smoking behaviors and readiness to change. Adequate treatment of depression could promote an individual to move through the stages of change from chronic contemplation to action, thus improving smoking cessation efforts for individuals with COPD. Understanding patients' smoking behaviors and readiness to change can aid in developing personalized interventions to achieve smoking cessation and improve long-term outcomes.


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