Coping with posttraumatic stress disorder and comorbidity after myocardial infarction

Man Cheung Chung*, Zoë Berger, Hannah Rudd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Literature on the relationship between coping strategies, posttraumatic stress after myocardial infarction (post-MI PTSD), and comorbidity is limited. This study aimed to fill this gap in literature by investigating this relationship. Method: One hundred twenty patients with MI were recruited from 2 general practices and interviewed using the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale, the General Health Questionnaire, and the COPE Scale. Results: Thirty-one percent had PTSD. Patients used acceptance-focused coping in that most of them accepted that the MI had happened and that it could not be changed. At the same time, some patients used avoidance-focused coping in that they disengaged themselves mentally and behaviorally from the traumatic effects of MI. When the variables of age, bypass surgery, mental health problems before MI, and angioplasty were held constant, the results showed that patients who used maladaptive coping strategies of emotion-focused and avoidance-focused copings tended to report more comorbid symptoms. Patients who underwent medical procedures or interventions such as bypass surgery and angioplasty tended to report more PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: The way in which MI patients' coping strategies relate to health outcomes has been shown to be symptom-specific. Using maladaptive coping strategies does not necessarily have a significant impact on PTSD symptoms. On the other hand, medical procedures or interventions for treating MI can play a major role in maintaining PTSD symptoms for patients with MI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


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