Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programs are commonly prescribed for patients with severe respiratory disorders, but little is known about how the patient’s personality traits influence PR outcomes. We analyzed the response of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to a home-based PR program according to their predominant behavioral profiles using the Dominance – Influence – Steadiness – Conscientiousness (DISC) tool.
This was a retrospective observational study of 335 COPD patients referred by their pulmonologists between January 2010 and December 2015. The DISC behavioral profile was determined at the beginning of the program. Patients received individual supervised sessions at home once a week for 8 weeks, which consisted of exercise training and psychosocial, motivational, and educational support, all tailored to the participant’s DISC profile. Exercise tolerance (6-minute stepper test, 6MST), anxiety and depression (Hospital anxiety and depression scale, HADS), and quality of life (Visual simplified respiratory questionnaire, VSRQ) were evaluated immediately before and after the PR program (T0 and T2, respectively) and then 6 and 12 months later (T8 and T14, respectively). Responders were defined as patients who exhibited at least minimal clinically important differences (improvements) from baseline.
Of the 335 COPD patients, 102 (30.4%), 98 (29.3%), 82 (24.5%), and 53 (15.8%) were classified as having predominant D, I, S, and C behavioral traits, respectively. All four patient groups showed significantly (P<0.01) improved performance in the 6MST, HADS, and VSRQ evaluations at T2 (n=300), T8 (n=262), and T14 (n=231) compared with T0, and the proportion of responders in all groups at T8 and T14 was high (∼60%). The percentage of responders differed significantly between groups only at T2, when the S group contained fewer responders on the HADS anxiety subscale. Most patients who did not complete the study were classified as D type (42/102, 41.2%), followed by I (28/98, 28.6%), S (22/82, 26.8%), and C (12/53, 22.6%) types.
The personality profile of COPD patients influenced their adherence to, but not their benefit from, a home-based PR program. The high proportion of patients in all personality groups showing significant improvements in outcomes supports a personalized approach to the design of PR programs.

Copyright © 2020 SPLF and Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.