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Social Support, Self-Efficacy, and Helplessness Following Myocardial Infarctions

Smallheer, Benjamin A. PhD; Dietrich, Mary S. PhD

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0000000000000265
Original Articles

Numerous factors impact patient recovery following an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Negative emotional outcomes, such as learned helplessness, are predictors of mortality following AMI, though little is known about these relationships. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between social support and self-efficacy with learned helplessness in individuals post-AMI. Using a descriptive cross-sectional design, subjects with a diagnosed AMI within 12 months were recruited. Standardized instruments were used to evaluate social support and self-efficacy and their impact on learned helplessness. A statistically significant, direct relationship was found between social support and self-efficacy, and learned helplessness, suggesting that individuals with better social support and self-efficacy experience less learned helplessness within the first year following an AMI. In developing post-AMI treatment plans, health care staff need to consider encouraging a patient's supportive social network and self-efficacy as meaningful interventions against negative emotional outcomes.

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tennessee (Drs Smallheer and Dietrich); and Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, North Carolina (Dr Smallheer).

Correspondence: Benjamin A. Smallheer, PhD, Duke University School of Nursing, 307 Trent Drive, DUMC 3322, Durham, NC 27710 (

There are no financial or relational conflicts of interest to declare associated with this study.

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