Objectives: Adjustment to life with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may be challenging for some patients and their partners, with disease and individual characteristics likely influencing the process. We examined whether perceived social support and clinical patient characteristics are associated with change in couples’ symptoms of anxiety and depression in the first year after ICD implantation, and explored whether the associations differ between patients and partners. Method: A cohort of consecutively implanted patients (n = 286; 21% women) and their partners completed questionnaires on social support and symptoms of anxiety and depression prior to ICD implantation and 12 months later. Information on demographic and clinical characteristics were captured from patients’ medical records or purpose-designed questions. Data were analyzed using multilevel models accounting for the interdependency of scores within couples with adjustment for possible confounders. Results: Higher ratings of perceived social support prior to ICD implantation were associated with greater reductions in couples’ symptoms of anxiety and depression, whereas having received an ICD shock was associated with less improvement. Secondary prevention indication for ICD implantation and symptomatic heart failure were associated with less improvement in anxiety symptoms. These associations applied to both patients’ and partners’ levels of distress. Conclusion: The patient's heart disease affects both patients’ and partners’ psychological adjustment in the first year after ICD implantation. Interventions are warranted that address this issue not only in patients but also in partners. Targeting social support as a resource for both could be one avenue to pursue.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Anxiety, Depression, Implantable cardioverter defibrillator, Partners, Social support
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2018.07.010, hdl.handle.net/1765/109552
Journal Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Rottmann, N. (Nina), Skov, O. (Ole), Andersen, C.M. (Christina Maar), Theuns, D.A.M.J, & Pedersen, S.S. (2018). Psychological distress in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator and their partners. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 113, 16–21. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2018.07.010