Biomedical Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 6-8-2020


BACKGROUND: Uranium workers risk experiencing dyspnea, a lung disease symptom. Previous studies found associations between dyspnea and depressive symptoms in lung disease, but this requires further study in occupational cohorts.

METHODS: This study evaluated the association between dyspnea and depressive symptoms in former uranium workers screened by New Mexico Radiation Exposure Screening & Education Program. Dyspnea and depressive symptoms were evaluated through questionnaires, Modified Medical Research Council Dyspnea Scale and a modified Patient Health Questionnaire-2, respectively. Logistic regression models were applied to cross-sectional analyses. Generalized linear models were applied to longitudinal analyses.

RESULTS: Cross-sectional analyses demonstrated higher dyspnea scores were associated with higher depressive symptom scores. Longitudinal analyses failed to demonstrate association between change in dyspnea scores and concurrent change in depressive symptom scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Lower dyspnea levels were common and depressive symptoms were not commonly reported. Workers reporting higher dyspnea levels were three times more likely to endorse depressive symptoms. Further longitudinal studies are necessary to understand the mechanisms between dyspnea and depressive symptoms in occupational cohorts at risk of developing lung disease.


Uranium, Lung Disease, Depression, Patient Health Questionnaire, Modified Medical Research Council Dyspnea Questionnaire, Screening and Surveillance

Document Type




Degree Name

Clinical Research

Level of Degree


Department Name

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

First Committee Member (Chair)

Akshay Sood MD, MPH

Second Committee Member

Annette Crisanti PhD

Third Committee Member

Denece Kesler MD, MPH

Fourth Committee Member

Kevin Vlahovich MD, MS