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The Experiences of Partners of Cardiac Patients: Sense of Coherence and Cardiac Beliefs

Jackson, K.F. (2011). The Experiences of Partners of Cardiac Patients: Sense of Coherence and Cardiac Beliefs. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The cardiac literature has shown that the stress of a patient’s illness may increase the partner’s vulnerability to develop psychological and physical illness. However, not all partners experience a crisis in response to the patients’ illness. The following study explored the experiences of being a partner of a person with cardiac problems. The aims of the study were a) to determine whether cardiac partners were distressed b) to investigate the reasons for the partners distress c) to explore the relationship between sense of coherence, cardiac beliefs and levels of partners distress d) to identify gaps in the care provided and opportunities for service development. A cross-sectional questionnaire study, followed by smaller scale interviews of partners of patients eligible for cardiac rehabilitation was conducted. 89 partners completed a questionnaire which included data on a) The “Sense of Coherence Scale” (SOC); b) cardiac beliefs; c) HADS; d) general questions on demographics problems, needs and experiences. Following analyses of the questionnaire, it was decided that the interviews would focus on the group of partners with the lowest HADS scores, as they would benefit the most from additional support. 8 partners were interviewed. In general, the sample of partners was in good health and coping well. The linear regression analysis showed that the partners’ sense of coherence and cardiac beliefs accounted for 62.5% of the variance in the partners psychological distress. Out of the two variables, SOC was a better predictor of HADS. The main reasons for partners’ dissatisfaction and distress included poor health, caregiver burden, conflict within the relationship, and inadequate support from health professionals. A framework of partners interventions was discussed, so that partner interventions would become both an integral and an intrinsic part of nursing care. The cardiac beliefs questionnaire has a valuable role in cardiac partner interventions, not only as a research tool, but also as a, cost effective, easy to deliver clinical intervention. The SOC would provide cardiac staff a framework to organise both the questions that they ask the partners and the information that they provide them. In addition to providing support for partners in distress, a salutogenic framework could help staff promote the resources to ensure that the non-distressed partners (and patients) remain healthy.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
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