The purpose of this study was (1) to determine the coping strategies employed by spouses of patients with AMI in the early phase of the crisis, (2) to define the role of age, gender, health perception, time since infarction, spouses' fears, and negative life events in the choice of coping strategies applied, and (3) to test the effect of coping strategies on physical and psychological strain. Fifty-seven spouses participated in the study, 47 were female and 10 were male. Data were collected by structured questionnaires, which were distributed to the spouses from 2 weeks-4 months after the patient's AMI. The researchers found that age, negative life event during the last 12 months, time since infarction, and the spouse's fears influenced the choice of strategies. In the early stage of the crisis, positive reappraisal seems to be a strategy that increased physical strain. Spouses' need for social support in the early stage of the crisis is a factor for health care providers to bear in mind. Besides giving information, empathy, and understanding, health care personnel can try to assist spouses in their efforts to reappraise their situation.