Little is known about the impact of standard cardiac rehabilitation (CR), consisting of health education and exercise, on self-reported behavior change among people who have completed rehabilitation. This qualitative study aimed to explore the lived experiences of participants' behaviors toward exercise and diet in the short- to medium-term after CR program completion.
Using a phenomenological framework, we interviewed participants who had completed a 4-wk CR program and then 6 mo later. The program included education and exercise in a private outpatient facility. A thematic analysis was conducted to explore changes in self-reported behavior. These themes were triangulated with Bandura's self-efficacy scales and Stages of Readiness for Change questionnaires to identify any convergence of themes.
A total of 21 participants were recruited to the study. One main theme and 4 subthemes emerged from analysis of the data. Most participants reported that they had either maintained or initiated positive lifestyle changes in both exercise and diet in the short- and medium-term. Fear of having another myocardial infarction, seeing the benefits of adhering with recommendations, and family involvements were motivating factors along with the involvement of the multidisciplinary staff in the program. The themes converged with the results from the questionnaires.
A standard form of CR can result in positive self-reported behavior change in the short- to medium-term. Further trials are needed to determine whether a standard form of rehabilitation is sufficient to change health behaviors at sufficient levels to result in long-term health benefits.
A 4-wk standard form of cardiac rehabilitation that includes both education and exercise positively influences self-reported behavior change in exercise and diet in the short- to medium-term.
College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia (Drs Tang, Blackstock, O'Halloran, and Taylor and Ms Aldcroft); Department of Physiotherapy, Western Sydney University, Australia (Dr Blackstock); Department of Physiotherapy, Knox Private Hospital, Wantirna, Australia (Ms Aldcroft); and Allied Health Clinical Research Office, Eastern Health, Box Hill, Australia (Dr Taylor).
Correspondence: Clarice Y. Tang, DPhysio, Discipline of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC3086, Australia (Y.Tang@latrobe.edu.au).
All authors have read and approved of the article.
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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.