Sense of coherence as well as social support and network as perceived by patients with a suspected or manifest myocardial infarction: a short-term follow-up study

Amir Baigi, Cathrine Hildingh, Helen Virdhall, Bengt Fridlund
Clinical Rehabilitation 2008, 22 (7): 646-52

OBJECTIVE: To compare sense of coherence as well as social support and network as perceived by ischaemic heart disease patients at baseline and two weeks post-discharge in terms of age, sex, educational and marital status.

DESIGN: Multicentre study with a prospective short-term follow-up design.

SETTING: A university hospital, a central hospital and a district hospital in southern Sweden.

SUBJECTS: Consecutive sample of 246 patients with a suspect or manifest myocardial infarction.

MAIN MEASURES: The Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS-R), the Medical Outcome Study (MOS) Social Support Survey and the Sense of Coherence Scale were included in a self-administered questionnaire and answered twice, together with sociodemographic variables.

RESULTS: Bivariate analyses indicated changes in social support (practical support increased in men and decreased in women; both P= 0.003) and social network (family network increased among >65 year olds; P= 0.001, men; P= 0.013, and women; P= 0.033, those with a low; P=0.017, and intermediate; P= 0.033, educational level, as well as those cohabiting; P= 0.0001), but did not reveal any difference in sense of coherence.

CONCLUSIONS: Sociodemographic variables have no influence on sense of coherence but do affect social support (i.e. practical support and social network, family). Ischaemic heart disease patients' short stay in hospital implies that the network outside the hospital has to assume responsibility, but at the same time it is important for health care professionals to have sufficient knowledge to be able to support the specific needs of patients and their family members.

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