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Predictors of Perceived Coping Effectiveness in Patients Awaiting a Heart Transplant

Jalowiec, Anne; Grady, Kathleen L.; White-Williams, Connie

doi: 10.1097/01.NNR.0000280612.83071.61

Background: The wait for a heart transplant (HT) is a very stressful time for patients; how well they cope is essential to quality of life. However, in previous research, factors that contribute to perceived coping effectiveness in HT candidates have not been identified.

Objective: To identify predictors of perceived coping effectiveness during the wait for a HT.

Methods: Adult HT candidates (N = 535) completed a booklet on multiple factors impacting on quality of life (coping, stressors, symptoms, disability, social support, interventions), plus medical data were collected from charts. The Jalowiec Coping Scale assessed coping behavior. Hierarchical regression was used to analyze five sets of predictors (total = 34) based on Lazarus' theory of stress and coping.

Results: The regression model explained 23% of the variance in perceived coping effectiveness. Coping styles explained the most variance, followed by coping resources, illness-related situation factors, stress appraisal, and person factors. Nine predictors were significant: less use of emotive, evasive, and fatalistic coping styles; feeling that the interventions of the HT team were very helpful; longer wait for the HT; foreseeing a favorable post-HT prognosis; more use of optimistic coping; urgent transplant status; and greater satisfaction with social support resources.

Conclusion: Coping styles, social support, HT wait, perceived prognosis, and transplant status contributed the most to predicting perceived coping effectiveness.

Anne Jalowiec, PhD, RN, is Professor Emeritus, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois.

Kathleen L. Grady, PhD, RN, is Administrative Director, Center for Heart Failure, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Associate Professor of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Connie White-Williams, MSN, RN, FNP, is Cardiothoracic Transplant Coordinator, Department of Nursing, University of Alabama Medical Center, Birmingham.

Accepted for publication March 24, 2007.

This study was funded by NIH (NINR and NHLBI), Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, Earl Bane Estate, Sigma Theta Tau, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, Loyola University School of Nursing, and Loyola University Medical Center. Study PI was Dr. Anne Jalowiec.

Corresponding author: Anne Jalowiec, PhD, RN, 3030 Electra Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.