Perceived health following myocardial infarction: cross-validation of the Health Complaints Scale in Danish patients

Behav Res Ther. 2002 Oct;40(10):1221-30. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7967(02)00027-x.


With an ageing population and a decline in cardiac mortality rates, the number of patients with cardiac disease is increasing, which in turn poses a major challenge for secondary prevention. For this end, appropriate, sensitive, and validated instruments to assess health complaints and quality of life are required. The objectives of the current study were: (1) to cross-validate the Health Complaints Scale (HCS) in a Danish sample of patients with a first myocardial infarction (MI); and (2) to investigate whether perceived health, as measured by the HCS is related to cardiac disease severity. The HCS was originally developed in Belgian patients with coronary artery disease. One-hundred-and-twelve consecutive patients with a first myocardial infarction were assessed by means of a questionnaire four to six weeks post infarction. Clinical measures were sampled from medical records. The factor structure of the HCS and the internal consistency of the Somatic Complaints (alpha = 0.91) and Cognitive Complaints subscales (alpha = 0.94) were confirmed. The construct validity of the scale was confirmed against measures of psychopathology and personality. Patients scored significantly higher on the HCS Somatic and Cognitive scales as compared with self-reports of depression and anxiety (p < 0.0001). Health complaints were unrelated to severity of cardiac disease and rather reflected subjective perception of quality of life. These findings show that the HCS is a valid instrument that is equally applicable in Danish cardiac patients to monitor perceived health as a major component of quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / psychology
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*