Illness demands and social support during recovery from a cardiac illness event
This study was designed to examine the relationships between illness-related stress and change, supportive and nonsupportive marital interactions, and health outcomes for the recovering cardiovascular patient and the spouse. A cross-sectional design was utilized and participants were interviewed approximately two months after the patient had undergone hospitalization and treatment for coronary artery disease. The final sample was comprised of 94 male patients and 85 partners, 83 women and 2 men. Data were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis (LISREL VI).The results of this study suggested four main conclusions. First, greater levels of physical recovery outcomes were associated with lower levels of stress for both patients and partners, and with greater levels of physical activity and older age for the patients. Second, greater levels of psychological well-being were associated with four of the same factors for both male patients and their female partners: greater age, less change, less stress, and less partner hindrance. In addition, greater psychological well-being was associated with greater amounts of partner support but only for the patients. Third, greater levels of relational outcomes were associated with higher amounts of partner support and less partner hindrance. And, for the women, greater relational well-being was associated with less stress. Fourth, in relation to social support, increased partner support was associated with less stress and greater psychological and relational well-being for the patients. In contrast, for the women, increased support from their mates was associated only with greater relational well-being. For both patients and partners, however, a greater perception of nonsupportive exchanges with the mate was associated with more stress and less psychological and relational well-being. Because of the small sample size, the findings are tentative and the study needs to be replicated with an appropriate sample size. Systematically examining the natural helping behaviors of cardiac patients and their partners provided information about the behaviors that were supportive and nonsupportive for both person's health during this time of recovery.
- Nursing - Seattle