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Health Psychol. 1989;8(2):221-38.

Social support and recovery from surgery.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego 92093.


This study examined the relationship of naturally occurring social support from the spouse with the preoperative anxiety and postoperative recovery of 56 male coronary-bypass patients. Patients were divided into groups based on whether the overall quality of their marital relationship was perceived to be relatively good or bad at the time of surgery and on whether they received relatively high or low spouse support in the hospital (defined in terms of frequency of visits). A fifth group (n = 16), consisting of unmarried patients, enabled additional comparisons. The results indicated that, although groups were essentially equivalent in preoperative physical status, married patients who received higher hospital support took less pain medication and recovered more quickly than their low-support counterparts. In contrast, perceived quality of the marital relationship was a relatively insignificant factor. Speed of recovery for unmarried patients was generally slower than for married, high-support patients and faster than for married, low-support patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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