• cardiac rehabilitation;
  • exercise initiation;
  • health beliefs

This study determines the effects of 15 potential predictors on cardiac rehabilitation (CR) initiation: demographic information, measures of perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, perceived cardiac threat, social support, depression, comorbid conditions, left ventricular ejection fraction, strength of physician recommendation, and benefits and barriers. Results showed that greater strength of physician recommendation and less disease severity were significant predictors of higher levels of CR initiation; female gender was a marginally significant predictor of less CR initiation. The strength of the associations for these predictors varied. Strength of physician recommendation was the strongest predictor. This information can be used to increase the number of patients starting CR through programs designed to increase physician awareness of the importance of their recommendation, the continuing need to refer women to CR, and the need to design programs that meet women's needs.