At the time this research was done, Ms. Buchanan and Ms. Hsu were undergraduate nursing student assistants. Both are now registered nurses.
Sex differences in sick role behavior during hospitalization after open heart surgery
Version of Record online: 20 JUL 2009
Copyright © 1978 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company
Research in Nursing & Health
Volume 1, Issue 1, pages 37–48, April 1978
How to Cite
Brown, J. S., Buchanan, D. and Hsu, L.-N. (1978), Sex differences in sick role behavior during hospitalization after open heart surgery. Res. Nurs. Health, 1: 37–48. doi: 10.1002/nur.4770010109
- Issue online: 20 JUL 2009
- Version of Record online: 20 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 14 FEB 1978
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 FEB 1978
- Manuscript Received: 7 DEC 1977
The proposition examined here is that there are sex differences in the enactment of the sick role. Specifically, in comparing the recovery of 50 male and 50 female patients following open heart surgery, it was hypothesized that male patients would (a) be transferred from the cardiac recovery room earlier, (b) be discharged from the hospital earlier, (c) achieve independence in self-care and in ambulation earlier, and (d) receive fewer pain medications and tranquilizers. Support was found only for the hypotheses of earlier hospital discharge and earlier self-care. The patient's physical condition—indicated by type of surgery, time in operating room, time on bypass, and units of blood—was related to time in recovery room and length of postoperative hospitalization. Of the variables examined, age emerged as the most powerful predictor of medication dosage, with older patients receiving significantly fewer analgesics and tranquilizers. The following conclusions were reached: (a) the salience of sex role expectations for sick role behavior varies with the particular measure considered and (b) the overall significance of sex role expectations in determining sick role behavior was slight for this sample of seriously ill patients.