, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 197-209

Heart-Focused Anxiety and Chest Pain in Postangiography Medical Patients

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Abstract

The present cross-sectional study sought to examine the extent to which heart-focused anxiety is associated with the co-occurrence of coronary artery disease (CAD) and a history of regular smoking in a sample of 148 postangiography patients from a cardiology unit. Individuals with CAD who regularly smoked demonstrated significantly greater heart-focused attention, but no greater degree of avoidance and fear of heart-focused sensations, than did nonsmoking persons with CAD and smokers without CAD. We also found evidence that heart-focused attention and fear incrementally predicted (above and beyond demographic variables and body mass index) intensity of average chest pain. Overall, this study provides some of the first empirical evidence that the co-occurrence of regular smoking and CAD is associated with specific dimensions of health anxiety. We discuss these findings in relation to models of panic pathology and anxious responding to bodily sensations.