Dynamics of Support Perceptions Among Couples Coping With Cardiac Illness: The Effect on Recovery Outcomes

Noa Vilchinsky, Rachel Dekel, Morton Leibowitz, Orna Reges, Abid Khaskia, Morris Mosseri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objective: The current prospective study explored how male cardiac patients' perceptions of received support (i.e., active engagement, protective buffering, and overprotection) moderated the associations between female partners' perceptions of provided support and patients' recovery outcomes: psychological well-being, cholesterol levels, and smoking cessation. Methods: Couples (N = 86) completed surveys at the initial hospitalization after patients' Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), and 1 and 6 months later. Partners' ways of providing support and patients' concurrent perceptions of these ways were measured using the Ways of Giving Support Questionnaire; patients' depressive and anxiety symptoms were measured using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Patients' cholesterol levels were assessed during hospitalization and 6 months later, and smoking habits were reported by the patients. Results: Female partners' protective buffering was positively associated with male patients' depressive symptoms at follow-up only when male patients' own perceptions of partners' protective buffering were low. Female partners' active engagement was positively associated with better odds for male patients' cessation of smoking only when patients' own perceptions of partners' active engagement were high. Finally, female partners' overprotection was associated with higher levels of male patients' harmful blood lipids at follow-up, but only when patients' own perceptions of partners' overprotection were high. Conclusions: As hypothesized, the effect of partners' perceptions of support provided on patients' recovery was moderated by patients' own perceptions of the support received. The effect of this interaction was determined by the specific types of support provided or received and by the specific recovery outcome that was measured. The clinical and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-419
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood lipids
  • Cardiac illness
  • Depression
  • Dyadic coping
  • Smoking cessation


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