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J Cardiopulm Rehabil. 2001 Nov-Dec;21(6):353-62.

Psychosocial characteristics after acute myocardial infarction: the ENRICHD pilot study. Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Ill, USA.



Psychosocial factors, such as emotional distress and social isolation, have been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for patients' recovery from acute myocardial infarction (AMI). This study examined age, gender, and ethnic differences in depression and general distress, social support, and health-related quality of life after AMI.


Data came from a series of 88 patients aged 62.1 +/- 14.2 years (46% female) who were hospitalized for AMI at eight different US clinical centers participating in the Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease (ENRICHD) Pilot Study. Standardized psychometric measures were administered to assess three psychosocial domains: (1) depression and general distress (mental health functioning), (2) social support, and (3) health-related quality of life. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to examine the effects of age, gender, and ethnic differences in each of the three psychosocial domains.


Female patients reported higher levels of depression and distress compared with male patients (P = .040). Gender differences in mental health functioning differed by age (P = .046), with the greatest differences observed among younger female patients. Older patients (P = .014) and female patients (P = .025) reported lower levels of social support compared with younger and male patients, respectively. Minority patients did not differ from nonminority patients in mental health functioning or social support, and there were no significant differences in post-AMI quality of life on the basis of age, gender, or ethnicity.


The psychosocial risk profile after AMI may be different for male and female patients, and interventions may need to take account of each gender's specific needs.

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