The Relationship Between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Self-Management Behaviors in World Trade Center Workers with Asthma

Juan P. Wisnivesky, Jacqueline H. Becker, Jyoti Ankam, Steven B. Markowitz, Molly Doernberg, Brittany Dickens, Paula Busse, Laura Crowley, Alex Federman, Craig Katz, Jeffrey J. Weiss, Adam Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is highly prevalent and associated with increased morbidity among World Trade Center (WTC) rescue and recovery workers with asthma. However, the potential behavioral pathways underlying this relationship remain unclear. Objective: To evaluate whether PTSD is associated with lower adherence to asthma self-management behaviors among WTC workers with asthma. Methods: We used data from a prospective cohort of WTC workers with a physician diagnosis of asthma who were prescribed controller medications. Presence of comorbid PTSD was determined based on structured clinical interviews. Asthma self-management behaviors included medication adherence, inhaler technique, use of action plans, and trigger avoidance. We conducted unadjusted and multiple regression analyses to evaluate the association of PTSD with asthma self-management. Results: Overall, 30% of 276 WTC workers with asthma had comorbid PTSD. Posttraumatic stress disorder was associated with worse asthma control and poorer quality of life. However, PTSD was not significantly associated with medication adherence (odds ratio [OR] –0.15; 95% confidence interval [CI] –0.5 to 0.2), inhaler technique (OR –0.12; 95% CI –0.7 to 0.5), use of action plans (OR 0.8; 95% CI 0.4 to 1.8), or trigger avoidance (OR 0.9; 95% CI 0.4 to 1.8). Conclusions: We did not find significant differences in key asthma self-management behaviors between WTC workers with and without PTSD. These results suggest that other mechanisms, such as differences in symptom perception or inflammatory pathways, may explain the association between PTSD and increased asthma morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • 9/11
  • Asthma
  • PTSD
  • Self-management
  • WTC


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