Objectives: This study examined illness perceptions (IP) and their correlates in coronary heart disease (CHD). Methods: The sample of the questionnaire study (n=3130 at baseline and n=2745 at 1-year follow-up, aged 45-74 years) was drawn from the drug reimbursement register, which covers persons with various drug-treated conditions. Independent variables were CHD severity and history, vicarious experiences, and psychosocial resources. Results: Men attributed their CHD more often to risk behaviours and internal factors (own attitude/behaviour), while women perceived stress as the cause of their CHD more often. Women also perceived more symptoms associated with CHD but reported less severe consequences. CHD severity was the most important correlate of IP and also predicted change in IP at the follow-up. Stronger perceived competence was related to weaker illness identity, stronger control/cure, and less severe consequences. Conclusions: Although disease-related factors are powerful correlates of CHD-related illness cognitions, also social and psychosocial factors are related to IP.

Attributions, Coronary heart disease, Illness perceptions, Sociodemographic factors
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2005.03.001, hdl.handle.net/1765/61661
Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Aalto, A.-M, Heijmans, M.J.W.M, Weinman, E.J, & Aro, A.R. (2005). Illness perceptions in coronary heart disease: Sociodemographic, illness-related, and psychosocial correlates. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 58(5), 393–402. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2005.03.001