A preliminary study was conducted to explore a range of factors that may be associated with relief from chest pain. Nonhospitalized ambulatory patients (N =150) were interviewed in their homes shortly after seeking care at one of two hospital emergency rooms. Bivariate and multivariate analyses identified four factors positively correlated with symptom relief: whether someone accompanied the patient to the emergency room; whether the patient feared a heart attack or heart problem; whether the patient believed that providers are able to help their patients; and whether the patient was told that he had not had a heart attack. A fifth factor, the number of history and examination items recorded in the medical record, was found to be inversely related to pain relief. It is suggested that in addition to sociodemographic characteristics of patients and measures of medical care process which are frequently studied, social and psychologic factors be considered as important explanatory variables in studies of health status outcomes.
© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.