Biopsychosocial-Spiritual Factors Impacting Referral to and Participation in Cardiac Rehabilitation for African American Patients: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW

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The purposes of this systematic review were to (1) review the literature related to the demographic and biopsychosocial-spiritual factors impacting cardiac rehabilitation (CR) referral and participation of African American patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD); (2) identify barriers and facilitators to CR referral and participation for this population; (3) identify gaps in the literature; and (4) make recommendations for future research studies and interventions.


The Cooper 7-step protocol for research synthesis was followed to formulate a research question and search MEDLINE via PubMed, PsycINFO via EBSCO, and CINAHL via EBSCO. A second reviewer repeated the searches performed by the first author in the initial review.


A total of 1640 articles identified using the search strategy yielded 7 articles that fit the search criteria. Most studies measured demographic or social factors. Two studies measured biological factors, 1 study measured psychological factors, and no study measured spiritual factors.


According to the studies reviewed, African American patients with CVD were less likely to receive a CR referral, more likely to enroll in CR with more cardiovascular risk factors, and less likely to participate in and complete CR due to factors related to low socioeconomic status (eg, lack of insurance, work conflicts, lower level of education) than non-Hispanic white patients. Further research is needed on the interaction between demographic/biopsychosocial-spiritual factors and referral to and participation of African Americans in CR in order to ensure that interventions fit the needs of this particular population.

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