Gender roles in persistent sex differences in health-related quality-of-life outcomes of patients with coronary artery disease

Gend Med. 2010 Aug;7(4):330-9. doi: 10.1016/j.genm.2010.07.005.


Background: The increased recognition of significant sex/gender differences in health status outcomes, and the implications for clinical practice and service delivery, has led to calls for more gender sensitivity and specificity in research endeavors as well as within clinical practice. Previous investigations by our research group have consistently identified important sex differences in both changes in health status from baseline to 1 year and in health status outcomes of patients treated for coronary artery disease (CAD), with women reporting poorer health-related quality of life (HRQoL) compared with men.

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine whether persistent sex differences in the health status of patients with CAD may be attributed to social factors such as gender roles.

Methods: Sex differences in baseline clinical and demographic characteristics of patients who completed the 1-year follow-up survey were examined using t tests and χ(2) analyses. Structural equation modeling, an inclusive statistical modeling approach for testing hypotheses about relationships among measured and latent variables (concepts not observed or measured directly), was used to test our theoretical model.

Results: HRQoL data were collected on 2403 patients 1 year after index catheterization. The results indicated that the model fit was substantially improved by the addition of the conceptualized gender-role variable. Furthermore, there was a significant effect of gender role on QoL (-0.106; P < 0.05). Age, coronary anatomy, ejection fraction, physical limitation, anginal frequency, and gender role variables in this model were able to explain 51% of the variance in HRQoL. In particular, reported physical limitations, anginal frequency, and gender role had large statistically significant direct effects on HRQoL.

Conclusions: Advances in the treatment of CAD have led to significant decreases in mortality rates. Our current challenge is to minimize the long-term impact of CAD on HRQoL outcomes. While a substantial body of literature has examined the correlations between gender-role attributes and a wide variety of both positive and negative outcomes, this area has not been explored in patients with cardiovascular disease. These findings suggest that further study of the influence of gender role (using a gender-role measurement) on HRQoL is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Coronary Artery Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics as Topic / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires