, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 76-91

Modification of physical activity 5 months after myocardial infarction: Relevance of biographic and personality characteristics

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The relation between modification of physical activity, a risk factor for coronary heart disease, and personality characteristics was assessed in 166 survivors of a first myocardial infarction (MI). Physical activity was assessed before Ml in retrospect, and again 5 months after MI. Patients were divided into 3 categories according to their current daily-life physical activities: less active than before Ml (n = 24). equally active as before Ml (n = 82), or more active than before Ml (n = 60). A significant differentiation was found between patients who became less physically active than before Ml and the other 2 categories. This less active category was characterized by feelings of disability, a low level of vigor, and feelings of anxiety. In addition, this patient group was on average older and more often female. The results were adjusted for participation in a cardiac rehabilitation program. Finally, the discussion recommends involving psychological intervention in the exercise program for the less active category of patients to diminish feelings of anxiety and disability and to improve vigor.

This study was supported by the Netherlands Heart Foundation. NHS-project 91.117. We thank the staff of the Cardiology Departments of the University Hospital Dijkzigt, Havenziekenhuis, and Holy-ziekenhuis.