Relation of Anxiety and Adherence to Risk-Reducing Recommendations Following Myocardial Infarction

Emily A. Kuhl, James A. Fauerbach, David E. Bush, Roy C. Ziegelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unlike depression, the relation between anxiety and the adherence to risk-reducing recommendations after myocardial infarction (MI) has not been well studied. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of anxiety on adherence after MI. Patients (n = 278) hospitalized for MI were assessed for anxiety using the Beck Anxiety Inventory during the hospitalization (baseline) and at 4 months of follow-up. The measures of adherence included following a low-sodium, low-fat diet, exercising regularly, taking medications, decreasing stress, carrying medical supplies, increasing socialization, following a diabetic diet, measuring blood glucose levels, and smoking cessation (where applicable). Baseline anxiety was associated with younger age, female gender, hypertension, tobacco use, depression, and current mood disorder. At 4 months of follow-up, anxiety was also associated with living alone, a history of coronary artery disease, and Killip class >1. An anxiety summary score was calculated to assess anxiety across both points. Summary anxiety was associated with worse adherence to exercise, reducing stress, increasing socialization, and smoking cessation but with better adherence to carrying supplies (all p <0.05). After controlling for demographic, cardiovascular, and psychological factors, summary anxiety predicted worse adherence to reducing stress (p = 0.004) and increasing socialization (p = 0.033) and was the only significant predictor of worse adherence to smoking cessation (p = 0.001) and better adherence to carrying supplies (p = 0.04). Anxiety during the initial hospitalization and 4 months later was associated with lower adherence to many important risk-reducing recommendations after MI. In conclusion, additional research is needed to evaluate whether treating anxiety can improve adherence in this setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1629-1634
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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