Objective: Chronic lung disease is exacerbated by comorbid psychiatric issues and treatment of depression may improve disease symptoms. We sought to add to the literature as to whether depression is associated with pulmonary function in healthy adults.
Methods: In 2551 healthy adults from New York State, we studied the association of depression via the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D) scale score and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) using general linear models and a cross-sectional design.
Results: We identified statistically significant inverse trends in FEV1, FVC, FEV1%, and FVC% by CES-D category, especially in ever-smokers and men. When adjusted for covariates, the difference in FEV1 and FEV1% for smokers with more than 18.5 lifetime pack-years from CES-D scores 0 to 3 to 16 or more (depressed) is approximately 0.25 l and 5.0% (adjusted p values for trend are <.001 and .019, respectively). In men, we also observed statistically significant inverse trends in pulmonary function with increasing CES-D.
Conclusions: We identified an inverse association of depressive symptoms and pulmonary function in healthy adults, especially in men and individuals with a heavy smoking history. Further studies of these associations are essential for the development and tailoring of interventions for the prevention and treatment of chronic lung disease.