Dyspnea on exertion provokes unpleasantness and negative emotions in women with obesity

Rubria Marines-Price, Vipa Bernhardt, Dharini M. Bhammar, Tony G Babb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: While dyspnea on exertion (DOE) is a common complaint in otherwise healthy obese women, less is known about feelings of unpleasantness and/or negative emotions provoked by DOE. We examined whether ratings of perceived breathlessness (RPB) during exercise were associated with ratings of unpleasantness and negative emotions (depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, and fear) in obese women. Methods: Seventy-four women (34 ± 7 yrs, 36 ± 4 kg/m 2 , 46 ± 5% body fat) performed 6 min of constant-load cycling (60 W); RPB (0–10 scale), and unpleasantness and negative emotions (visual analog scales, 10 cm) were assessed at the end. Results: RPB were significantly correlated with unpleasantness and negative emotions (p < 0.05). The strongest correlations were between RPB and unpleasantness (r = 0.61, p < 0.001), and RPB and anxiety (r = 0.50, p < 0.001). Conclusions: DOE can significantly provoke unpleasantness and negative emotions during exercise in obese women. This may affect their willingness to engage in regular physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Affective dimension
  • Exertional breathlessness
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Respiratory symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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