Women's Hearts Need Special Treatment

Int J Behav Med. 2002;9(3):228-42. doi: 10.1207/s15327558ijbm0903_05.


Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the Western world. Some studies show that the observed decline in cardiovascular mortality is not as pronounced among women as among men. There is a growing awareness that most earlier studies both on primary and secondary risk factors, diagnosis, prognosis, and rehabilitation have focused mainly on men. Thus, there is a need to develop knowledge about women with CHD and to address gender issues in treatment and rehabilitation strategies. Negative affect and emotions increase risk and may interfere with effective cardiac rehabilitation. Therefore, methods for coping with emotional stress need to be included in treatment regimens after a coronary event. The feasibility of a stress management program for women with CHD was assessed in a pilot study. The program consisted of twenty 2-hr group sessions during 1 year, with 5 to 9 participants per group. The pilot study showed that this treatment program had a low dropout rate and resulted in improvement in quality of life and reduction in stress and symptoms. Further work to optimize psychosocial interventions for women with CHD is needed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease / rehabilitation
  • Coronary Disease / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Physiological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Physiological / rehabilitation
  • Stress, Physiological / therapy*
  • Women's Health*