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Health Psychol. 1993 Jan;12(1):56-63.

Social support and long-term recovery from coronary artery surgery: effects on patients and spouses.

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of Rochester, New York 14642.


Using a longitudinal design, the effect of social support on recovery from coronary bypass surgery was examined in 155 patients and 103 of their spouses. Perception of the availability of 5 types of social support was relatively stable from preoperation to 1 year after surgery and was significantly related to emotional and functional outcomes. Of the 5 types of support measured, only esteem support was significantly and consistently related to outcomes for patients and spouses. This relationship was strongest within-time, and across-time relationships effects were weaker. Spouse's perception of support was related to patient outcomes, controlling for patient perceptions of support. Results suggest that perception of esteem support may be the most salient type of support related to feelings of well-being during and after an acute health-care event. In addition, perception of social support may be characterized by stable individual differences.

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