The Effects of a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Tailored for Women on Global Quality of Life: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Background: Women with heart disease have adverse psychosocial profiles and poor attendance in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs. Few studies examine CR programs tailored for women for improving their quality of life (QOL).

Methods: This randomized clinical trial (RCT) compared QOL among women in a traditional CR program with that of women completing a tailored program that included motivational interviewing guided by the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behavior change. Two measures of QOL, the Multiple Discrepancies Theory questionnaire (MDT) and the Self-Anchoring Striving Scale (SASS), were administered to 225 women at baseline, postintervention, and 6-month follow-up. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to compare changes in QOL scores over time.

Results: Baseline MDT and SASS scores were 35.1 and 35.5 and 7.1 and 7.0 for the tailored and traditional CR groups, respectively. Postintervention, MDT and SASS scores increased to 37.9 and 7.9, respectively, for the tailored group compared with 35.9 and 7.1 for the traditional group. Follow-up scores were 37.7 and 7.6 for the tailored group and 35.7 and 7.1 for the traditional group. Significant group by time interactions were found. Subsequent tests revealed that MDT and SASS scores for the traditional group did not differ over time. The tailored group showed significantly increased MDT and SASS scores from baseline to posttest, and despite slight attenuation from posttest to 6-month follow-up, MDT and SASS scores remained higher than baseline.

Conclusions: The CR program tailored for women significantly improved global QOL compared with traditional CR. Future studies should explore the mechanisms by which such programs affect QOL.

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Journal of Women's Health, v. 19, issue 11, p. 1977-1985