Relationship between coping and depression in heart transplant candidates and their spouses.
CONTEXT: Survival rates for heart transplantation are encouraging, but the pretransplant period can be extremely stressful for patients and their spouses. Although a relationship between patients' depression levels and the coping strategies employed by their spouses has been demonstrated, this association has not been examined in heart transplant candidates and their spouses. Depression in this group of patients is important because heart transplant patients with preoperative depression have been found to have a higher mortality rate after transplantation. OBJECTIVE: To determine if a relationship exists between spousal coping strategies and heart transplant candidates' depression. METHODS: A descriptive, exploratory pilot study. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-two individuals with end-stage heart disease who were undergoing an inpatient evaluation for heart transplantation, plus their spouses. Design-Heart transplant candidates were assessed via the Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Depression Scale. Spouses completed the COPE Inventory and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. RESULTS: Spousal behavioral disengagement was positively associated with heart transplant candidates' depression. CONCLUSIONS: Heart transplant candidate depression may follow spousal disengagement, or, conversely, a spouse may disengage in response to the patient becoming depressed. Identification during the pretransplant evaluation of those spouses who cope using behavioral disengagement might be a first step in the process of assessment and intervention. Clinical interventions may need to focus on the spouse as well as on the transplant candidate.
Burker, EJ; Evon, DM; Ascari, JC; Loiselle, MM; Finkel, JB; Mill, MR
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