Learned Helplessness and Depressive Symptoms Following Myocardial Infarction

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Abstract

Psychosocial factors are known to impact depressive symptoms across clinical populations. Learned helplessness has the potential of affecting depressive symptoms following acute myocardial infarction (AMI), though little is known about this relationship. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between learned helplessness and depressive symptoms in patients following an AMI. Using a descriptive cross-sectional design, participants with a diagnosed AMI within the past 12 months were recruited. Standardized instruments and measures were used to evaluate learned helplessness and depressive symptoms. A statistically significant direct relationship was found between learned helplessness and depressive symptoms, suggesting that individuals with higher self-reported levels of learned helplessness also reported more depressive symptoms. These results indicate learned helplessness is associated with depressive symptoms in individuals following an AMI. In developing post-AMI treatment plans, health care staff should focus on psychologic points of intervention to the same extent as physiologic interventions.

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