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Associations Between Depression, Fatigue, and Life Orientation in Myocardial Infarction Patients

Brink, Eva PhD, RN; Grankvist, Gunne PhD

The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: September-October 2006 - Volume 21 - Issue 5 - p 407-411

Background: The possible preventive and treatment measures for post-myocardial infarction fatigue may rely on gaining insight into the psychosocial factors associated with fatigue. One such factor may be life orientation, that is, having an optimistic versus pessimistic view of life. Optimists expect things to turn out for the good, whereas pessimists generally expect that bad things will happen to them.

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the relations among life orientation (optimism-pessimism), depression, and fatigue after a first-time myocardial infarction.

Methods: The sample included 98 patients in total, 33 women and 65 men, who had suffered a first-time myocardial infarction 1 year before the testing. Linear and curvilinear regression analysis models were used to describe and explore the associations between the variables.

Results: A nonlinear relationship between postmyocardial fatigue and life orientation was found. The interpretation was that a pessimistic view of life could have more negative consequences for postmyocardial fatigue than an optimistic view of life could have positive consequences. The association between depression and fatigue was weak, supporting the notion that fatigue may be experienced by myocardial infarction patients without coexisting depression.

Conclusion: Post-myocardial infarction fatigue must be investigated further and explicitly focused upon. One way to decrease postmyocardial fatigue could be to focus on steps that cause the most pessimistic individuals to feel less pessimistic.

Eva Brink, PhD, RN Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, Trollha¨ttan, Sweden.

Gunne Grankvist, PhD Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, University West, Trollha¨ttan, Sweden.

Corresponding author: Eva Brink, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, SE 461 86 Trollha¨ttan, Sweden (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.