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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Margaret Hegge


lung diseases, obstructive patient rehabiliation, lung diseases, obstructive patient attitudes, lung diseases, obstructive exercise therapy


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Is a chronic Illness estimated to affect 15.8 million Americans. COPD causes distressing symptoms, such as fatigue and difficulty breathing, which can lead to a decrease in functional status and social Isolation. Consequently, the person with COPD faces many losses, such as financial stability, expected role shifts, and changing social relationships. Hope Is essential to adapt to these losses. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which participation in a structured exercise program (pulmonary rehabilitation) was followed by a decrease in the perceptions of fatigue, dyspnea, and social isolation in patients with COPD and an Increase in their functional ability and their perception of hope. The research approach Involved a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest design with each subject serving as his/her own control group. Data were collected over a period of fourteen months from subjects diagnosed with COPD, between the ages of 65 and 80, and participating in a four week structured pulmonary rehabilitation program at a midwestern regional medical center. A nonrandomized sample of 30 subjects was attained. Questionnaires were distributed to the subjects on the first and last day of the pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Paired t-tests demonstrated a significant increase in the level of hope and a significant decrease in the level of fatigue before and after participation in a structured exercise program. Paired t-tests failed to demonstrate a significant difference in the levels of social isolation, functional status, and dyspnea before and after participation in a structured exercise program.
Pearson Product-Moment Correlation (/) determined the relationship among the levels of dyspnea, fatigue, social isolation, functional status, and hope for elderly COPD subjects before and after participation in a structured exercise program. Significant pretest findings demonstrated: (a) a strong positive relationship between fatigue and difficulty breathing, (b) a moderately strong positive relationship between functional status and hope, and (c) a moderately negative correlation between functional status and fatigue. An inverse relationship between hope and fatigue approached significance. Significant findings with posttest data included: (a) a strong positive relationship between hope and functional status, (b) a moderately positive relationship between hope and social networks, and (c) a moderately negative correlation between hope and fatigue. ANOVA tested the differences among the mean scores of the physical measures and the factors from pretest to posttest, utilizing difference scores. Net gains/losses were used to calculate ANOVA. No significant differences were found.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Lungs -- Diseases, Obstructive -- Patients -- Rehabilitation
Lungs -- Diseases, Obstructive -- Patients -- Attitudes
Lungs -- Diseases, Obstructive -- Exercise therapy



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1999 Elizabeth L. Niemeyer. All rights reserved