• coping strategies;
  • heart transplantation;
  • grounded theory;
  • professional support

Coping after heart transplantation: a descriptive study of heart transplant recipients’ methods of coping

The purpose of the study reported in this paper was to explore the coping strategies of heart transplant recipients. Using a qualitative research approach, interviews were conducted with 42 participants (35 men and seven women). Analysis of the data revealed eight coping strategies: acceptance/optimism, denial/avoidance, setting targets, comparing oneself with others, making attributions, seeking social support, having faith and changing priorities and perceptions. These are discussed in relation to the literature and a tentative model of coping after heart transplantation is offered. The findings may provide pointers to health professionals about ways in which they can improve support for heart transplant recipients and their families.