The Role of Resilience in Cardiovascular Surgery Recovery




Curcio, Nicholas Edmund

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The notion that a positive mindset is beneficial for one's health is widely accepted in today's culture. High levels of resilience have been linked to better physical and mental health outcomes within both general and chronic disease populations. To date, there has been little research conducted on the role resilience plays following cardiac surgery. In a sample of 402 cardiac surgery patients, we examined the associations of psychological resilience with other psychosocial constructs, healthcare utilization, and health related behavior in year following cardiac surgery. Resilience was significantly associated with both positive and negative psychosocial constructs at baseline and in the ensuing year. Such constructs included: spirituality, social support, quality of life, depression, and anxiety. In addition, patients with low resilience reported increased pain in the 30 days following surgery, as well as increased anxiety and depression in the following year. Resilience was not associated with any health related behavior change or healthcare utilization either in the 30 days or one year following surgery. Regression analyses revealed that spirituality was associated with an increase in resilience over the ensuing year, whereas having Black/African American race and never being married were associated with a decrease in resilience following surgery. These findings identify, for the first time, populations that are vulnerable to a decrease in resilience following cardiac surgery, as well as a potential avenue (i.e. spirituality) for bolstering resilience.

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