The Dissimilarity Between Myocardial Infarction Patients’ and Spouses’ Illness Perception and its Relation to Patients’ Lifestyle

AIM AND OBJECTIVES:

To examine the dissimilarity between Chinese myocardial infarction (MI) patients’ and spouses’ illness perceptions, and to explore the relationship between patients’ IP, differences in couples’ IP and patients’ lifestyle after discharge.

BACKGROUND:

An individual’s illness perception is affected and moderated by several factors, including the social context. One of the most influential members of the social network of patients is the spouse.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional design.

METHODS:

From April 2016 to April 2017, 111 MI patients and their spouses were recruited. Before discharge from hospital, revised Illness Perception Questionnaire was administered to MI patients and their spouses separately. Two months after discharge, patients’ lifestyle was assessed using Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II. The manuscript was organized according to STROBE guidelines.

RESULTS:

Spouses were more likely to believe that the illness would last for a long time, and patients perceived MI as being more controllable than their spouses did. The patient-spouse dissimilarity in the perception of consequences was negatively correlated with both nutrition and stress control behaviors. Patients in couples with more dissimilar perception of environmental factors as a cause were more likely to choose a healthy diet, while patients in couples with more dissimilar perceived treatment control were more able to control stress.

CONCLUSION:

There are both similarities and dissimilarities between MI patients’ and spouses’ illness perception, and these dissimilarities contributed the majority of the explained variance in patients’ lifestyle after discharge.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:

We should consider both couples when examining how a patient copes with a chronic illness.