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Hopelessness has been associated with a higher risk of fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease, yet very few studies have examined hopelessness after a cardiac event. This investigation examined hopelessness as an independent predictor of participation in a hospital-based cardiac rehabilitation exercise program.A total of 207 patients with acute coronary syndrome were interviewed at 3 and 8 months after hospital discharge. Measures included 1 factor of the Beck Hopelessness Scale, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the Activity Status Index, the Charlson Comorbidity Index, a sociodemographic variables tool, and a cardiac rehabilitation exercise participation questionnaire.Random-effects logistic regression analysis revealed that hopelessness persisted over time and was an independent predictor of lower exercise participation. In contrast, depression showed no significant influence on exercise participation.Study findings suggest the importance of assessing hopelessness in patients with acute coronary syndrome and identifying approaches to exercise recommendations that directly address hopelessness. Interventions focused on the prevention and treatment of hopelessness symptoms may contribute to improved recovery of patient with acute coronary syndrome.