Awareness of breathing: The structure of language descriptors of respiratory sensations

Sibylle Petersen, Bernhard Orth, Thomas Ritz
2008 Health Psychology  
Objective: Recent research suggests that dyspnea is not a single sensation but a multidimensional construct reflected in different verbal descriptors that can provide useful diagnostic information. In this study superordinated clusters of dyspnea were investigated in combination with a dimensional approach. Design: We examined the use of 20 respiratory symptom descriptors by healthy volunteers who completed a protocol of seven experimental conditions: Quiet breathing, breath holding, paced
more » ... hing, climbing stairs, resistive load breathing, voluntary hyperinflation, and voluntary hyperventilation. Main Outcome Measures: We analyzed the ratings of these descriptors with multidimensional scaling (MDS) and cluster analysis. Results and Conclusion: While similarities with prior studies were found on a lower fusion level, we were able to demonstrate the usefulness of interpreting higher fusion levels with four clusters related to work of breathing, coordination, suffocation, and struggling for air, merging into two superordinated clusters, effort and air hunger that are compatible with widely accepted primary components of dyspnea. MDS results also suggested that future studies should consider further breathing sensations related to cognitive control of breathing.
doi:10.1037/0278-6133.27.1.122 pmid:18230023 fatcat:oynynic5zndvrjt3utaknk7a4e