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Renn BN, Hundt NE, Sansgiry S, Petersen NJ, Kauth MR, Kunik ME, Cully JA. Integrated Brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Improves Illness Intrusiveness in Veterans With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 2018 Jul 13; 52(8):686-696.
Background: Progressive illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) impart a high level of physical and psychological burden. Evidence-based psychotherapies hold the potential to improve perceptions of physical health impairment, yet few studies have documented these effects. Purpose: To evaluate the effect of brief cognitive behavioral therapy (bCBT) on disease-related illness intrusiveness. Methods: Participants were 175 Veterans with COPD and clinically elevated symptoms of depression and/or anxiety enrolled in a larger randomized trial (n = 99 randomized to bCBT, n = 76 to enhanced usual care; EUC). bCBT included up to six treatment sessions and optional booster sessions over a 4-month period. EUC entailed an assessment with documentation in the medical record. Primary outcomes focused on posttreatment changes on the Illness Intrusiveness Rating Scale (IIRS), an established measure of perceived impairment from a chronic health condition. Results: Illness intrusiveness improved for bCBT participants relative to EUC, after controlling for baseline IIRS scores, depression, and anxiety (p = .03, partial ?2 = .03). Specific improvement was observed in the Instrumental subscale (p = .02), encompassing improved intrusiveness of COPD on daily activities and daily functioning. IIRS scores improved in the absence of changes in physical functioning. Conclusions: Illness intrusiveness was high among Veterans with COPD but improved over the course of bCBT. Integrated behavioral health interventions hold the potential to reduce disease intrusiveness. The IIRS may be a valuable tool to augment traditional assessment and measurement-based care approaches of behavioral health interventions for medically ill patients.