Despite a major downturn in the 1960s and 1970s, cardiovascular disease remains the most common source of morbidity and mortality in the United States. As a result, many individuals can expect to develop diseases of the heart and blood vessels and to undergo invasive treatments such as valve surgery (VS) and coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). Notwithstanding the high level of safety and clear benefits experienced on average among patients receiving these treatments, there is substantial variability in both medical and psychosocial outcomes. The ability of biomedical variables to account fully for this variability has stimulated interest in psychological and social factors that may influence the course of recovery from invasive cardiovascular treatments such as VS and CABG. Research in this area has examined the role of person factors, such as personality characteristics and depression, as well as social characteristics, such as extent and quality of patients' social support networks. However, very little attention has been given to the role of religiousness in recovery to cardiac surgery. Religiousness is a major personal and social resource for many people, yet it has only recently become a topic of systematic study as a predictor of health outcomes in individuals faced with major life stressors. In the proposed study, religiousness and spirituality will be examined as predictors of psychological well-being, physical health, and mortality in 80 patients undergoing VS or CABG at UMDNJ-RWJ Medical School. Psychosocial assessments will be conducted prior to surgery on the day of pre-admission testing, and at 1-month and 6-month follow-ups. Hypotheses to be addressed concern the construct validity of measures of religiousness and spirituality, the association between religiousness/spirituality and outcomes of surgery, the effects of surviving surgery on religiousness/spirituality, and the role of psychological and social mechanisms that may explain associations between religiousness/spirituality and surgical recovery.
|Effective start/end date
|9/30/97 → 2/29/00
- National Institute on Aging
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