Myocardial infarction: survivors’ and spouses’ stress, coping, and support

Authors


Miriam Stewart Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, 3rd Floor Clinical Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G3. E-mail: miriam.stewart@ualberta.ca

Abstract

Myocardial infarction: survivors’ and spouses’ stress, coping, and support

Despite evidence that spouses play an important role in the recovery of MI survivors, there have been few studies of pertinent psychosocial factors from the perspectives of both survivors and spouses. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to describe stress, coping strategies and social support experienced by survivors and spouses. This study was limited to first-time MI to focus on a time of uncertainty and transition. Twenty-eight persons (14 couples) participated. Both survivors and their spouses reported similar post-MI stresses: emotional impact, lifestyle changes, encounters with health professionals, and their partners’ reactions. Spouses and survivors used diverse strategies to cope with the stresses of MI. Seeking informational support was prevalent. Both spouses and survivors engaged in ‘protective buffering’ of their partners. Couples described deficient support, conflict and miscarried helping efforts within their relationships. Spouses and survivors referred to inadequate informational support from health professionals.

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