Uncertainty, coping, and distress following myocardial infarction: transition from hospital to home

Res Nurs Health. 1988 Apr;11(2):71-82. doi: 10.1002/nur.4770110203.


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of uncertainty in illness and use of coping methods on emotional distress and recovery following myocardial infarction. A longitudinal exploratory design with measures obtained at three times was used; multiple regression was used to analyze the data. Uncertainty explained a significant amount of the variance in emotional distress prior to hospital discharge (21%), and 1 (16%) and 4 (26%) weeks after discharge. Patients reporting greater uncertainty also reported more emotional distress. One week after discharge, coping behaviors significantly added to the variance explained in distress (27%). Greater use of emotive coping behaviors was associated with higher levels of emotional distress and accounted for the majority of the variance explained by coping behaviors (23%). The findings are discussed in terms of the nature of uncertainty in health care and future model development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*