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J Behav Med. 2012 Jun;35(3):253-61. doi: 10.1007/s10865-011-9358-0. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

Avoidant coping moderates the association between anxiety and patient-rated physical functioning in heart failure patients.

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Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061, USA.


Previous research has indicated that anxiety may be associated with adverse health outcomes in heart failure patients. Little research, however, has explored whether anxiety interacts with patients' coping strategies in their associations with physical functioning. The present study examined whether coping strategies moderated the association between anxiety and self-rated physical functioning in 273 heart failure patients. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis, adjusting for demographic and medical covariates, indicated that both anxiety (b=1.15, β=0.46, P<0.001) and avoidant coping (b=0.43, β=0.16, P<0.01) were significantly associated with poorer physical functioning in separate models. Results also demonstrated a significant interaction between avoidant coping and anxiety (b=0.56, β=0.14, P<0.01), such that the association between anxiety and poorer physical functioning was stronger for patients who frequently used avoidant coping strategies than for those who avoided less frequently. Approach coping, however, was not directly associated with physical functioning, nor did it moderate the association between anxiety and physical functioning. The findings suggest that anxious heart failure patients who engage in avoidant coping may be at particular risk for physical dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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