The association of low income and high stress with acute care use in COPD patients

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Low-income chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) individuals are known to have higher rates of COPD-related hospitalizations and readmissions. Levels of psychological stress are also higher in lowincome populations and may be associated with acute care use. We sought to: (1) determine the association between stress and acute care use in COPD, (2) evaluate the social determinants of health (SDH) in low and high stress individuals, and (3) determine the association between low income and high stress with acute care use. Materials and Methods: Using results from a survey-based study of individuals with COPD at the University of Alabama (UAB), we used multivariable regression modeling to evaluate the association of high stress with acute care use (COPD-related emergency department [ED] visits or hospitalizations). We then compared SDH between low and high stress groups and evaluated the association of low income + high stress with acute care use in a secondary model. Results: We included 126 individuals in our study. The high stress group was more likely to be < 65 years old and female. No differences in race, smoking, years of smoking, body mass index, dyspnea, or lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1]%) by stress group were observed. The high stress group had a 2.5-fold increased adjusted odds of acute care use (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]95% confidence interval [CI], 2.51, 1.06-5.98) compared to the low stress group, while the low-income + high stress group had a 4-fold increased adjusted odds of acute care use (AOR, 95% CI, 4.38, 1.25-15-45) compared to high-income + low-stress group. Conclusions: Acute care use and stress are associated in COPD. These associations are more pronounced in the low-income + high stress population who disproportionately contribute to health care utilization and frequently lack the resources needed to cope with stress.
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    Author List

  • Parekh TM; Cherrington AL; Bhatia S; Turan B; Patel SB; Kim YI; Turan JM; Dransfield MT
  • Start Page

  • 107
  • End Page

  • 117
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 2