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Illness perception in overweight and obese patients with cardiovascular diseases



This study explored the relationship of illness perception with different aspects of cardiac anxiety, general anxiety and depression in a sample of male and female overweight and obese patients with cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

Study design

The clinical sample included 165 adults (113 males) aged from 32 to 89 years. The patients were admitted to the Department of Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation for a major cardiovascular event, acute myocardial infarction or myocardial revascularization.


Psychological measurement included questionnaires of illness perception, cardiac anxiety, general anxiety and depression.

Results and conclusions

Illness perception and cardiac anxiety in patients with CVD were associated with anxiety and depression. Regression analysis showed that illness perception accounts for a significant proportion of the variance in both anxiety and depression for males, but not for females. Gender-specific interrelations between perceptions of CVD and indices of mental health have an implication for interventions to maximize the effect of therapy with these patients.

Level of Evidence

Level V, Descriptive study.

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This research is a part of the project ‘Biopsychosocial aspects of obesity’ (number: supported by grant from University of Rijeka, Croatia.

Author information




APB: study design, data collection, data interpretation and manuscript preparation. NAR: data interpretation and manuscript preparation.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alessandra Pokrajac-Bulian.

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Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any competing interest.

Ethical approval

This research was approved by the ethical Committee of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka, by the Research Ethics Committee of the Clinical Hospital in Rijeka. All participants signed informed consents.

Informed consent

All participants signed informed consents.

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Cite this article

Pokrajac-Bulian, A., Ambrosi-Randić, N. Illness perception in overweight and obese patients with cardiovascular diseases. Eat Weight Disord 25, 69–78 (2020).

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  • Illness perceptions
  • Overweight and obese patients
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cardiac anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anxiety