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J Cardiopulm Rehabil. 1998 Nov-Dec;18(6):445-9.

Gender differences in psychosocial profile at entry into cardiac rehabilitation.

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  • 1Center for Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Rijnlands Zeehospitium, Katwijk aan Zee, Netherlands.



To find out in a sample of coronary patients at entry into a cardiac rehabilitation program, whether women report a lower level of physical functioning and a higher degree of psychosocial impairment than men.


One hundred and nine male and 122 female patients matched for age with a diagnosis of myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting, or coronary angioplasty were assessed at entry into a multidisciplinary outpatient rehabilitation program. Information was retrieved from hospital records, a semistructured interview, and several psychological questionnaires. Variables of physical functioning included perceived exercise tolerance, functional complaints, psychosomatic complaints, and sleeping disturbances. Variables of psychosocial impairment included anxiety, depression, vital exhaustion, well-being, feelings of being disabled, displeasure, and social inhibition.


At program entry, there were no significant differences in age, coronary risk factors, coronary incident, or medication between genders. However, women reported significantly lower perceived exercise tolerance and significantly more functional and psychosomatic complaints. Moreover, women were significantly more anxious and scored significantly higher on social inhibition and vital exhaustion than men.


At entry into rehabilitation, women in this sample report a higher degree of psychosocial impairment and a lower level of physical functioning than men. Women's significantly higher scores on social inhibition and vital exhaustion might partly explain their reported higher drop-out and lower adherence rates in cardiac rehabilitation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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