Abstract 10943: Predictors of Psychological Distress in Patients with Recurrent Symptomatic Atrial Fibrillation
Introduction: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a life complicating illness associated with psychological distress. As AF prevalence grows 2.5 fold to 8 million by 2050, interventions to help patients manage psychological challenges of living with AF are needed. Evidence suggests patients' illness perceptions (IP) and coping strategies influence psychological distress, however little is known about how they influence psychological distress in patients with AF. Understanding IP and coping may guide interventions to avert or diminish psychological distress.
Purpose: The aim of this cross-sectional, predictive study guided by Levethal's Common Sense Model was to identify if age, sex, clinical factors, IP, coping strategies and symptom characteristics predicted psychological distress in patients with recurrent symptomatic AF.
Methods: Subjects (N = 207), 56% male, 64.2±12.3 years completed the Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised, COPE Inventory, Symptom Checklist-Frequency and Severity and Profile of Mood States. Data were analyzed using Pearson's correlations and hierarchical multiple regression.
Results: Age, sex, type of AF, and duration of diagnosis did not predict distress. IP contributed most to models followed by coping strategies and symptom frequency. IP explained the largest portion of the variance in: Anxiety-Tension, 44% of total 56%; Depression-Dejection, 38% of total 50%; Anger-Hostility, 17 % of total 32% ; Fatigue-Inertia, 43% of 53% total; Vigor-Activity, 24% of total 35%; Confusion-Bewilderment, 41% of total 49%; and Total Mood Disturbance 47% of total 63%. Illness perceptions of AF as having serious consequences (β =.20, P <.001); a psychological cause (β =.17, P <.001), and perceived poor understanding of AF (β = −.17, P <.001) as a group were stronger predictors of Total Mood Disturbance than coping by focusing on emotion (β =.24 P <.001) or Symptom Frequency (β =.34 P <.001).
Conclusions: Illness perceptions are important predictors of psychological distress in patients with AF. Assessment of patients' IP may reveal perceptions that increase risk for psychological distress. Future research is warranted to evaluate interventions to modify psychological cause and consequence beliefs, and promote understanding of AF.
- © 2010 by American Heart Association, Inc.