• myocardial infarction;
  • stress;
  • stressors;
  • early discharge period;
  • Jordan

Background.  The period immediately following discharge after hospitalization for a first-time myocardial infarction (MI) is stressful. Recovery-related stressors include anticipation of or actual difficulties in resuming social and physical activities, and adopting recommended health actions.

Rationale.  Stress level and sources of stress in the early discharge period need to be evaluated. Identifying patient charcteristics that contribute to high stress is essential to facilitate patients' adjustment.

Aims.  To evaluate stress level, identify sources of stress, and examine the significance of sociodemographics and health characteristics in predicting stress in MI patients in the early discharge period.

Methods.  In this cross-sectional study, data were collected from 84 MI patients 2–16 weeks after discharge. The patients, aged 20–70 years, were attending cardiology clinics of four Jordanian public hospitals and had experienced myocarial infarction for the first time.

Instruments.  A structured interview guide including a stress discharge assessment tool was used to identify stress level and sources of stress experienced after discharge.

Findings.  Most patients experienced a moderate level of stress, with 20% reporting high stress levels. They perceived ‘having many persons to provide care to, worrying about having another heart attack, and my partner worries too much about me’ as their most important concerns. Age, gender, income, frequency of chest pain episodes, and physicians' recommendations to quit smoking were the most significant predictors of stress.

Conclusion.  The findings suggest that in the early discharge period MI patients worry about their social role, interpersonal relations and personal health, which can exacerbate symptoms and complicate their future care.