Twenty-five patients, admitted through a Coronary Care Unit with their first myocardial infarction (MI), were interviewed close to discharge home about (a) their perceptions regarding the causes of their MI and (b) their knowledge of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors. Psychosocial factors (overwork, stress, worry) were the most frequently cited causes of MI, with smoking and being overweight or overeating the most frequently cited physical causes. Knowledge of CHD risk factors concentrated on smoking, being overweight and dietary factors, although psychosocial factors were relatively frequently cited. High levels of satisfaction with staff-patient communication were expressed, but knowledge of advice given was generally vague or imprecise and concentrated on dietary modification. Smoking was well-recognized by smokers as a risk factor but less commonly related to their own Ml. The main recommendation is for coronary rehabilitation information programmes to be more individualized to the patients' specific needs, based on a Personal Risk Factor and Health Beliefs Assessment for all patients.