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Title: Illness perceptions, cardiac rehabilitation and quality of life in cardiac surgery patients
Author: Whelen, Elizabeth Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 7075
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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Background: Previous research indicates that for some individuals, quality of life (QoL) post-cardiac surgery (CABG or PTCA ) declines from pre-surgery levels. Using the framework of Leventhal's Common-Sense Model, this longitudinal study examined the associations between patients' illness perceptions and coping strategies, their QoL, attendance at cardiac rehabilitation and lifestyle changes. It was hypothesised that a more negative profile of illness beliefs (weaker control beliefs, belief in more severe consequences, poorer understanding of the condition, and negative emotional representations) together with the use of more emotional coping strategies would be associated with poorer QoL. It was also hypothesised that attendance at cardiac rehabilitation would be associated with greater control beliefs, more severe consequences and a causal attribution of lifestyle. Sample and Methods: 113 patients (93 male, mean age 66 (8.93) who were about to undergo cardiac surgery were recruited from two hospitals. Questionnaire measures of illness perceptions (IPQ-R), coping (CHIP) and cardiac-specific QoL (MacNew) were administered at four time points: pre-surgery, post-surgery, post cardiac rehabilitation, and one-year follow up. Data on attendance at rehabilitation and health behaviours were collected via hospital records and patient report. Results: The best predictors of QoL were not cognitive representations of the cardiac problems, but negative emotional representations and associated emotion-focussed coping strategies, implying that an emotion-regulation intervention could be targeted to improve outcome. The predictive ability of initial QoL on QoL at later stages implies this might be best introduced pre-surgery. Having less severe consequence beliefs prior to surgery predicted greater attendance at cardiac rehabilitation. A better understanding of the cardiac condition predicted attendance at cardiac rehabilitation. There was no evidence of change in lifestyle post-rehabilitation.Discussion: The findings that emotional representations of cardiac problems and the use of emotion focussed coping strategies were predictors of quality of life suggest that interventions to foster adaptive emotion regulation may improve outcome in these patients. Findings with respect to attendance at rehabilitation varied somewhat from the previous literature, possibly because the present study sampled patients who were having elective surgery, rather than those who had recently had a heart attack. The importance of studying defined populations and also the issue of when measures are obtained in relation to cardiac events were also highlighted.
Supervisor: Wearden, Alison Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Illness perceptions ; Quality of life ; Cardiac surgery ; Emotional representations ; Emotion regulation