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Qual Life Res. 2006 Oct;15(8):1323-33. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

Psychological correlates of quality of life in atrial fibrillation.

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Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada.



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with significant health-related quality of life (QoL) impairments. Markers of heart disease severity have explained little variance in QoL and it is unclear what other factors will better account for the observed differences in adjustment. We examined whether specific personality traits and illness management styles would help explain the severity of QoL impairments reported in this population.


Patients with AF (N = 93) completed validated questionnaires measuring disease burden (dependent variables: physical and mental QoL, symptom severity, psychological distress), personality (independent variables: anxiety sensitivity, optimism), and illness management style (mediating variable: symptom preoccupation). Hypothesized relationships were evaluated using mediation models.


Anxiety sensitivity was associated with poorer physical and mental QoL, greater symptom severity, and higher distress. Optimism was correlated with better mental QoL and lower distress, but unrelated to physical QoL and symptom severity. Symptom preoccupation significantly mediated the relationships between anxiety sensitivity and each of the QoL measures, as well as the relationships between optimism and mental well-being.


Personality traits and illness management styles are important to consider when assessing the impact of AF on QoL. The data support a cognitive-behavioral model that explains the direct and indirect relationships between psychological predictors and multiple indices of QoL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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