Social Support and Hostility as Predictors of Depressive Symptoms in Cardiac Patients One Month After Hospitalization: A Prospective Study

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Abstract

Objective

Hospitalization for cardiac disease is associated with an increased risk for depression, which itself confers a poorer prognosis. Few prospective studies have examined the determinants of depression after hospitalization in cardiac patients, and even fewer have examined depression within the weeks after hospital discharge. The present study assessed the prospective relations among perceptions of social support and trait hostility in predicting symptoms of depressive symptoms at 1 month after hospitalization for a diagnostic angiography in 506 coronary artery disease (CAD) patients.

Method

A series of structural Equation models1) estimated the predictive relations of social support, hostility, and depressive symptoms while in the hospital to symptoms of depression 1 month after hospitalization, and 2) compared these relations across gender, predicted risk classification, and age.

Results

Social support assessed during hospitalization was independently negatively associated with depressive symptoms 1 month after hospitalization, after controlling for baseline symptoms of depression, gender, disease severity, and age. Hostility was an indirect predictor of postdischarge depressive symptomology by way of its negative relation with social support. This pattern of relations did not differ across gender, predicted risk classification, and age.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that a patient's perceived social support during hospitalization is a determinant of depressive symptoms 1 month later. The relation of social support and hostility to subsequent depressive symptoms was similar across a variety of populations.

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