patients experience psychological difficulties after a cardiac
event including anxiety
, depressed mood, adjustment
difficulties, and feelings of grief and loss. There is a vast literature on the psychological adjustment
patients including reports by individual practitioners into the emotional difficulties of these patients. However, no previous study has surveyed therapists collectively about their experiences working with cardiac
patients. In this study, clinical practitioners were surveyed to identify specific emotional issues faced by cardiac
patients and to explore potential relationships between these issues.
Semistructured interviews were conducted with 14 psychologists and cardiac
social workers who had extensive experiences with cardiac
patients. Responses were collated by means of a qualitative
Participants described the interrelationships of anxiety
, grief and loss, and denial that were observed in cardiac
patients. Participants also identified trauma, guilt, and anger as issues of concern.
The findings supply a richness of detail that is often absent in quantitative studies. This detail may give cardiac
rehabilitation professionals additional insight into the complexity of patients' emotional reactions and the interrelationships of these reactions. The results highlight the importance of the identification and referral of patients who present with more than transient emotional difficulties.