Comparison of coping responses to symptoms between first-time sufferers and those with a previous history of acute myocardial infarction

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing






Cardiac Patients -- Psychosocial Factors, Coping, Help Seeking Behavior, Myocardial Infarction -- Symptoms, Recurrence, Treatment Delay, Age Factors, Canada, Chi Square Test, Comparative Studies, Convenience Sample, Cross Sectional Studies, Data Analysis Software, Descriptive Research, Descriptive Statistics, Educational Status, Female, Geographic Factors, Hospitals, Mann-Whitney U Test, Middle Age, Questionnaires, Retrospective Design, Secondary Analysis, Self Administration, Self Medication, Sex Factors, Spearman's Rank Correlation Coefficient, Summated Rating Scaling, T-Tests, United States, Human


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Little is known about how experience with a previous acute myocardial infarction (AMI) impacts individuals' reactions to symptoms of a recurrent episode. Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare the use of coping strategies during an acute cardiac event in patients experiencing a first AMI with those experiencing a recurrent AMI.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Secondary data analyses were performed to examine differences in the use of coping strategies between individuals with and without a history of AMI. Mann-Whitney U test was performed to compare those with (n = 26) and without (n = 109) a previous AMI with respect to 15 coping strategies, each of which was measured on a 5-point Likert scale.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a history of AMI were more likely to use prescribed medications to deal with their symptoms than were patients who did not have a previous AMI (M = 1.5 and 0.20; median = 2.0 and 0.0, respectively; P < .001). However, patients who had no previous AMI were more likely to respond by taking nonprescription medications (M = 0.90 and 0.60; median = 1.0 and 0.0, respectively; P = .04). The results suggest that patients with and without a history of AMI tend to respond to their symptoms with similar coping strategies. When differences occurred, patients with and without a history of AMI differed only with respect to the type of self-medication choices they made. Implications pertaining to these findings are discussed.