Perceived stress and coping strategies among candidates for heart transplantation during the organ waiting period

R. R. Porter, L. Krout, V. Parks, S. Gibbs, E. S. Luers, Marie T Nolan, S. A. Cupples, D. Lepley, D. A. Givan, L. Ohler, N. Nunes

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Abstract

The effectiveness of the transplantation team in diffusing stress during the pretransplantation period is increasingly important the longer the patient remains on the transplant waiting list. This study describes the stressors and coping strategies of heart transplant candidates during the waiting period. Thirty-nine candidates on the active list for heart transplantation from four mid-East Coast transplantation centers participated. With a possible stress score of 0 to 243, the mean score for this sample was a low 72.84 (standard deviation = 37.47). The three most common stressors were (1) requiring a heart transplant, (2) having terminal heart disease, and (3) worrying family members. The three most common coping strategies were (1) thinking positively, (2) using humor, and (3) trying to keep life as normal as possible. The finding of low stress levels was surprising but may reflect the presence of hope or the patient's desire to spare family members worry - a concern commonly cited by patients. Another explanation is that patients desiring to be perceived as ideal transplant recipients may have underreported their stress. This suggests that the transplantation team should support positive coping strategies when possible and that both patient and family coping should be closely monitored throughout the waiting period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Volume13
Issue number1 I
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

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