• women;
  • patients';
  • perceptions;
  • cardiac rehabilitation

The purpose of this study was to determine whether there were differences in personal perceptions between women who participated in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and women who did not. This cross-sectional study used a convenience sample of 370 female patients who had been treated and discharged between April 1, 1995, and September 30, 1995. Three standardized scales, a self-report instrument, and medical records reviews were used to collect data at five hospitals and four CR centers in three midsized northeastern Ohio cities. Differences in personal perception and demographic variables between participants and nonparticipants were examined. Education, history of coronary heart disease (CHD), and specific cardiac diagnoses showed statistically significant differences between the groups. Logistic regression tested the model for participation. No variable or group of variables was found to predict CR participation in this sample of women. All cardiac patients need information about CR. Patients with less education, a history of CHD, and a diagnosis of stable angina need special instructions and closer follow-up.