Symptom experiences, symptom attributions, and causal attributions in patients following first-time myocardial infarction

  • Linda D. Cameron
  • Keith J. Petrie
  • Chris Ellis
  • Deanna Buick
  • John A. Weinman
Article

DOI: 10.1207/s15327558ijbm1201_5

Cite this article as:
Cameron, L.D., Petrie, K.J., Ellis, C. et al. Int. J. Behav. Med. (2005) 12: 30. doi:10.1207/s15327558ijbm1201_5

Abstract

We examined symptom experiences, symptom attributions, and causal attributions reported by patients hospitalized for a first-time myocardial infarction (MI). We also explored the roles of symptoms, negative affect, and risk factors in promoting stress and other causal attributions. Patients (N = 65) completed measures of symptom experiences and attributions, perceived causes of their MI, state and trait negative affect, and risk factors. Patients attributed most of their symptoms to the heart condition, although rates varied from 48% (headaches) to 97% (nausea). The most common causal attribution was stress, followed by high cholesterol, heredity, fat consumption, and hypertension. Stress attributions were positively associated with state anxiety and specific, stress-related symptoms (e.g., fatigue and breathlessness). Anxious mood and stress-related symptoms appear to enhance the plausibility of stress as a cause of MI. Risk factors were moderately correlated with associated causal attributions. For many patients, however, attributions to hypertension, cholesterol, and family history of heart disease were discordant with their clinical data. Causal attributions remained stable over the subsequent 6 months.

Key words

causal attributionssymptom attributionsheart disease

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda D. Cameron
    • 1
  • Keith J. Petrie
    • 1
  • Chris Ellis
    • 2
  • Deanna Buick
    • 3
  • John A. Weinman
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, (Tamaki Campus)The University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of AucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Centre for Health Care ResearchUniversity of BrightonUnited Kingdom
  4. 4.Unit of PsychologyGKT School of MedicineUnited Kingdom