Today, cardiovascular disease has a great impact on the global population due to its high prevalence. One challenge that cardiovascular patients face to achieve a better prognosis is to follow a healthy diet. This study focused on psychological factors linked to adaptation to a healthy diet in these patients. The main objective was to analyze the interrelationship between motivation to follow a healthy diet and self-efficacy to adhere to the Mediterranean diet with life satisfaction over time. The sample consisted of cardiovascular patients who were assessed at three measurement moments (NT1 = 755; NT2 = 593; NT3 = 323, average interval time: nine months). Correlation analyses showed that self-efficacy, motivation, and life satisfaction followed a pattern of positive relations across the three measurements. A time effect over the study variables was also observed. The results of path analyses showed that self-efficacy positively predicted autonomous motivation, which in turn was associated with patients' life satisfaction. This interrelation was stable over a period of 18 months. Moreover, life satisfaction predicted self-efficacy nine months later. Psychological interventions might be a positive resource for cardiovascular patients, since psychological variables influence their life satisfaction and their subsequent quality of life in their new health condition.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; healthy diet; life satisfaction; motivation; self-efficacy.