PURPOSE: Maintenance of exercise after completing phase II cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is challenging for many patients. We offered a telephone-based maintenance intervention and found improvement in exercise participation in the intervention group at 12 months post-CR discharge. We examined the effects of the intervention on psychosocial outcomes.
METHODS: The effects of a home-based exercise maintenance intervention on psychosocial outcomes among patients who had completed phase II CR versus contact control were evaluated in a randomized controlled trial. Data were collected in 2005 to 2010 and analyzed in 2011. One hundred thirty patients (mean age = 63.6 [SD = 9.7] years, 20.8% female) were randomized to exercise counseling (Maintenance Counseling group, n = 64) or contact control (Contact Control group, n = 66). Maintenance Counseling group participants received exercise counseling (based on the transtheoretical model and social-cognitive theory) delivered via telephone for 6 months, as well as print materials and feedback reports. Assessments of depression, quality of life, and mental health were conducted at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months.
RESULTS: The Maintenance Counseling group reported statistically significant higher quality of life than the Contact Control group at 6 months (b = 0.29, SE = 0.08, P < .001) and 12 months (b = 0.27, SE = 0.09, P = .002). Intervention effects on depressive symptoms were significant at 12 months (b = −6.42, SE = 2.43, P = .009). Effects on overall mental health were nonsignificant at both followups. No significant moderators of treatment effects were found.
CONCLUSION: A telephone-based intervention that helped maintain exercise showed statistically significant improvements in quality of life and reduced depressive symptoms in this patient population.