Individuals living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often require support from family or friends. We examined whether invisible support–support that is provided but goes unnoticed–is related to pulmonary function, and whether this association is mediated by depressive symptoms and illness perceptions. Sixty-six dyads of individuals with COPD and their informal caregivers reported on receipt and provision of support, respectively. Those with COPD completed measures of depressive symptoms, illness perceptions and pulmonary function. Although invisible support was not directly related to pulmonary function, mediation analyses revealed a combined indirect effect through lower depressive symptoms and less negative illness perceptions. Interventions teaching skillful delivery of support to caregivers may reduce depressive symptoms and threatening illness cognitions, which may contribute to improvements in symptom burden among patients with COPD.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- depressive symptoms
- illness perceptions
- social support