Anxiety and depression after acute myocardial infarction

Heart Lung. Mar-Apr 1996;25(2):98-107. doi: 10.1016/s0147-9563(96)80111-7.


Objectives: To assess the following: (1) symptoms of anxiety and depression in hospitalized patients who had acute myocardial infarction (AMI); (2) the association between sex, infarct severity, history of previous AMI, and symptoms of anxiety and depression in hospitalized patients; (3) symptoms of anxiety and depression during the first year after AMI in a select group of patients; and (4) the association between educational and occupational status and symptoms of anxiety and depression at the time of hospitalization in a select group of patients.

Design: Cross-sectional survey (objectives 1 and 2) and prospective trial with random assignment (objectives 3 and 4).

Setting: Six university-affiliated hospitals in a Canadian city.

Patients: Seven hundred eighty-five hospitalized patients with AMI, with 1-year follow-up of 201 selected patients from this sample.

Instruments: State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the short form of the Beck Depression Inventory.

Intervention: Data collection was initiated in the hospital 3 days after AMI, and patients were followed-up 14, 24, 41, and 56 weeks after AMI.

Results: Student t tests, analysis of variance, and descriptive statistics were used. When the patients were in the hospital the mean state (S-anxiety) and trait (T-anxiety) scores were 43 and 44, respectively. Ten percent had S-anxiety scores and 14% had T-anxiety scores that were higher than the mean scores reported for psychiatric patients. During the 1-year follow-up in the select group of subjects, the mean S-anxiety and T-anxiety scores were both 48 in-hospital, and decreased to 42 and 46, respectively, by 14 weeks and remained at these levels for the remainder of the year. During the course of the year, 16% of the patients had State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores consistent with psychiatric conditions. The in-hospital Beck Depression Inventory mean score was 3, and 9% of the patients had scores consistent with moderate to severe depression. During the first 24 weeks, symptoms of moderate to severe depression were reported by 10% of the select group of patients. No associations were found between anxiety and depression and sex, creatine phosphokinase level, previous AMI, education, or occupational status.

Conclusions: Symptoms of anxiety were prevalent among hospitalized patients who had an AMI, whereas depressive symptoms were rare. There was no association between anxiety and depression and sex, infarct severity, history of previous AMI, or educational or occupational status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / rehabilitation