Prevalence of Anxiety as a Variable in Treatment Outcomes for Individuals With Chronic Refractory Cough

Miranda L. Wright, Laurie Slovarp, Jane Reynolds, Nelson Roy, Akiko Okifuji, Krishna M. Sundar, Julie M. Barkmeier-Kraemera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Anxiety is a mental state characterized by an intense sense of ten-sion, worry, or apprehension relative to something adverse that might happen in the future. Anxiety is a known comorbidity in cough patients, yet its prevalence among those with chronic refractory cough (CRC) is unknown. Anxiety is not typically assessed during evaluation for CRC, but treatments for CRC such as neuromodulators and behavioral cough suppression therapy (BCST) may poten-tially attenuate anxiety. This preliminary study investigates the potential preva-lence of anxiety in CRC and its possible role in treatment outcomes. Method: CRC patients seen in a specialty clinic at the University of Utah or the University of Montana completed the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ) pre-and post-BCST treatment. Participants were dichotomized into positive anxiety screen (PAS) and negative anxiety screen (NAS) groups based on presence or absence of documented anxiety within electronic medical records at the Univer-sity of Utah and based on a Generalized Anxiety Disorder–7 score>5 at the University of Montana. Results: Of the 86 total participants, 37 (43%) were in the PAS group (29 females, Mage=56±13) and 49 (57%) were in the NAS group (36 females, Mage=64±14). Eighty-nine percent of CRC participants with a PAS reported a clinically meaningful improvement in LCQ total score following treatment com-pared to 65% of NAS participants. Furthermore, mean pre-to posttreatment change scores on the LCQ were significantly greater within the PAS group (p=.002, Cohen’s d=0.7, indicating a moderate to large effect size). Conclusion: This preliminary study suggests that (a) anxiety may be prevalent among those with CRC and (b) those patients who screen positive for anxiety report greater benefit from BCST.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-484
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Female
  • Humans
  • Adult
  • Middle Aged
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Cough/diagnosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Anxiety/diagnosis
  • Quality of Life


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