Get access

Patient attributions for cardiac events: predictors of physical and psychological recovery


  • This research was supported by (1) a Graduate Student Association Merit Scholarship Grant from the University of Nevada, Reno, and (2) a Graduate School Humanities and Social Science Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kymberley K. Bennett, Department of Psychology, Cherry Hall, Room 302, University of Missouri – Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA. E-mail:


This study examined cardiac rehabilitation (CR) patients' causal attributions for their cardiac events, and used those attributions as predictors of cross-sectional and prospective health status. Data were collected from 163 participants at the beginning and end of their CR programs. Results showed that patients' attributions can be categorized into controllable ones that are behavioral in nature, uncontrollable ones that are biological in nature, and a separate category for stress-related causes. Findings showed that stress attributions at the beginning of CR were associated with engaging in healthy behaviors in the last month of CR, which, in turn, were positively associated with metabolic equivalence levels at the end of CR. Results imply a motivational component to believing that cardiac events are caused by stress.