Hopelessness and Depression in the Early Recovery Period After Hospitalization for Acute Coronary Syndrome

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PURPOSE:Psychosocial factors, such as depression, have been identified as important predictors of morbidity and mortality in individuals with coronary heart disease; however, little research has been done examining hopelessness in this population. This investigation examined the frequency and severity of hopelessness and depression in the early recovery period after hospitalization for acute coronary syndrome (ACS), the relationship between hopelessness and depression, and patient characteristics leading to these 2 variables.METHODS:A total of 525 post-ACS patients at 5 hospitals in Michigan were interviewed. Measures included the cognitive expectations factor of the Beck Hopelessness Scale and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale.RESULTS:Hopelessness symptoms were frequent and moderate to severe in 27% of the sample, whereas depression was frequent and moderate to severe in 36% of subjects. Hopelessness was moderately correlated with depression, yet a number of different patient characteristics were predictive of each. Lower educational level predicted hopelessness, but not depression. Patients who had coronary artery bypass surgery or coronary angioplasty were more hopeless, but not more depressed. Female gender predicted depression, but not hopelessness. Hopelessness and depression had a shared variance of 33%.CONCLUSIONS:Hopelessness and depression were frequent and moderate to severe in a portion of patients in the early ACS recovery period. An association between hopelessness and depression exists, while different patient characteristics were more strongly associated with each. Longitudinal analysis is needed to examine hopelessness and depression in later phases of the ACS recovery period.

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