Social support comparisons between men and women in phase II cardiac rehabilitation
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Social support plays a key role in the rehabilitation of acute and chronically ill people. Generally, if one receives some type of social support then he or she is more likely to improve their physical, emotional, and/or psychological well-being during the rehabilitative phase. The type and amount of social support the cardiac patient perceives may affect participation in cardiac rehabilitation.
The purpose of this study was to 1) determine if there was a difference between the amount of social support perceived by men and women entering a phase II cardiac rehabilitation exercise program 2) to examine the relationship between social support and the first four weeks of rehabilitation compliance. A sample (n = 29) of twenty two men (63.1 y.o. Â± 10.1) and seven women (70.4 y.o. Â± 11.4) voluntarily completed the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey as they entered into the phase II programs. The sample population consisted of patients with one or more of the following characteristics: MI (76%), CABG (59%), PVD (21%), PTCA (28 %), diabetes (21 %), hypertension (48 %), and angina (41 %). Two sites were used in the study; one urban and one rural. Each program session consisted of 60 minutes of exercise which consisted of flexibility, cardiovascular, and strength conditioning routines. All sessions were monitored by exercise specialists and registered nurses. Classes met three times per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As patients entered the programs, they were administered the MOS Survey which consists of 19 questions that address four types of social support -- tangible, affection, positive interaction, and emotional. Each patient's attendance was recorded from initial entry to the end of four weeks.
Data collection began in February 1995 and ended in May 1995. The results of the study demonstrated that there were no significant differences between men and women and their perception of social support at entry into the program. The mean total social support scores for men and women were 314.1 Â± 85.2 and 307.1 Â± 47.0 (p = 0.84), respectively out of a possible 400. There was no significant relationship between men and women and their compliance to the program (X2 = 3.15, df 2; P = 0.21). In addition, there was no significant relationship between low, medium, and high compliers and their overall social support scores (p = 0.41). Results from these analyses should be viewed with caution as sample sizes were small.
In conclusion, this study did not find that social support was associated with cardiac rehabilitation compliance. However, low entry rates into both programs and the extended length of the study resulted in very low sample sizes. Hence, the analyses may not have had sufficient statistical power to identity differences and make valid comparisons.
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