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It is poorly understood why asthma symptoms are often discordant with objective medical tests. Differences in interoception (perception of internal bodily processes) may help explain symptom discordance, which may be further influenced by mood and attention. We explored inter-relationships between interoception, mood and attention in 63 individuals with asthma and 30 controls. Questionnaires, a breathing-related interoception task, two attention tasks, and standard clinical assessments were performed. Questionnaires were analysed using exploratory factor analysis, and linear regression examined relationships between measures. K-means clustering also defined asthma subgroups. Two concordant asthma subgroups (symptoms related appropriately to pathophysiology, normal mood) and one discordant subgroup (moderate symptoms, minor pathophysiology, low mood) were found. In all participants, negative mood correlated with decreased interoceptive ability and faster reaction times in an attention task. Our findings suggest that interpreting bodily sensations relates to mood, and this effect may be heightened in subgroups of individuals with asthma.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Psychol

Publication Date





Asthma, Attention, Breathlessness, Interoception, Metacognition, Mood, Affect, Asthma, Attention, Dyspnea, Heart Rate, Humans, Interoception