Coping in chest pain patients with and without psychiatric disorders

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1989 Jun;57(3):338-43. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.57.3.338.


We first examined relations between psychiatric disorder and coronary heart disease (CHD) in 77 patients presenting with chest pain. The coping profiles of chest pain patients with and without psychiatric disorder and CHD were then compared. Psychiatric patients with no medical illness (n = 129) were also studied. On the basis of previous research we hypothesized specific coping differences across the groups. As expected, chest pain patients without psychiatric disorder scored significantly higher on a problem-focused coping scale than chest pain patients with psychiatric disorder, who in scored higher on this scale than psychiatric patients with no medical illness. The opposite pattern occurred for a measure of wishful thinking. Scores of chest pain patients with psychiatric disorder were higher on a measure of avoidance and lower on a measure of seeking of social supports than those without psychiatric disorder. Scores on a self-blame measure were not different across the groups. The results are discussed in the context of illness behavior and somatization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angina Pectoris / psychology*
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sick Role*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*