Uncertainty, coping, and distress following myocardial infarction: Transition from hospital to home



The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of uncertainty in illness and use of coping methods on emotional distress and recovery following myocardial infarction. A longitudinal exploratory design with measures obtained at three times was used; multiple regression was used to analyze the data. Uncertainty explained a significant amount of the variance in emotional distress prior to hospital discharge (21%), and 1 (16%) and 4 (26%) weeks after discharge. Patients reporting greater uncertainty also reported more emotional distress. One week after discharge, coping behaviors significantly added to the variance explained in distress (27%). Greater use of emotive coping behaviors was associated with higher levels of emotional distress and accounted for the majority of the variance explained by coping behaviors (23%). The findings are discussed in terms of the nature of uncertainty in health care and future model development.