Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation





First Advisor

Dr. Susan K. Frazier


The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate the biological, behavioral, and psychosocial attributes of individuals diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Specific aims were to: 1) explore the predictive power of spirometry measures for event-free survival in patients with heart failure and suspected COPD, focusing on the differences in survival between those with and without airflow limitation; 2) examine the psychometric properties of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) in patients with concomitant COPD and heart failure; and 3) test the efficacy of a theory-based, multidimensional, self-care educational intervention using an eHealth platform on measures of symptom severity and variability, anxiety and depressive symptoms, perceived self-care ability, perceived self-care adherence, and selfcare information needs (knowledge) in a sample of adult patients with stable COPD.

Specific aim one was addressed by evaluation of the predictive power of spirometry measures (forced expiratory volume/second [FEV1], forced vital capacity [FVC], and the ratio of FEV1/FVC) for event-free time to combined hospitalization/mortality after controlling for clinical and sociodemographic variables. This analysis revealed that those patients with airflow limitation were 2.2 times more likely to experience hospitalization/mortality compared to those without airflow limitation. The second specific aim was addressed with a psychometric evaluation of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social support (MSPSS) which included determination of internal consistency reliability, the factor structure and construct validity by hypothesis testing in participants with comorbid COPD and heart failure. The MSPSS was a valid and reliable instrument to measure perceived social support in patients with comorbid COPD and heart failure. The third specific aim was addressed by a trial of an eHealth educational intervention in participants with COPD (N = 20). This intervention resulted in significant change in symptom severity evaluation in patients categorized as having medium symptom severity for the following symptoms: distress due to cough, chest tightness, dyspnea with activity and fatigue; these symptoms were perceived as more severe in the intervention period. Anxiety, depressive symptoms and perceived self-care ability were unchanged; however, perceived self-care adherence scores improved, and knowledge needs were significantly reduced after the intervention.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)