Patient and general practitioner attitudes to healthy lifestyle behaviours and medication following coronary heart disease: an exploratory study

Aust J Prim Health. 2010;16(2):154-8. doi: 10.1071/py09011.


Patients with coronary heart disease often engage in unhealthy lifestyle behaviours. We explored patients' and general practitioners' (GPs') perceptions about the effectiveness of healthy behaviours and medications for the prevention of further cardiovascular disease. This exploratory study used semi-structured interviews with eight Sydney GPs and 13 of their patients with coronary heart disease. Patients perceived medications to be more effective than healthy behaviours in improving specific aspects of cardiovascular health, such as angina symptoms, cholesterol and blood pressure, whilst GPs perceived that medications were more effective in patients they considered at highest cardiovascular risk, patients with uncontrolled risk factors, or where adherence to healthy behaviours was poor. Among patients we found a negative perception of the effort required to adhere to healthy behaviours and possible underestimation of their future cardiovascular risk. Patients valued support from peers and family. This study opens up avenues for investigation in further research, including whether patient adherence to healthy behaviours may be enhanced by the exploration oftheir perceptions about behaviour effectiveness, barriers and cardiovascular risk and by GP facilitation of practical supports.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Coronary Disease / drug therapy
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • General Practitioners / psychology*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Factors


  • Cardiovascular Agents