Associations Between Benefit Finding, Disease Severity, Positive Affect, and Health Outcomes Among Patients in Cardiac Rehabilitation
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Following a stressful event, individuals may attempt to create meaning or find benefit from the stressor. Benefit finding (BF) may act as a buffer to minimize the effects of stress on health outcomes. The literature is mixed regarding relationships between BF and mental and physical health outcomes within a variety of illnesses, which may be partly due to missing moderator or mediator variables. Therefore, using secondary data from an ongoing study at a cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program within a safety-net hospital, it was hypothesized that the relationship between BF and health outcomes (i.e., depressive symptoms, healthy dietary behaviors, and functional capacity via six-minute walk test results) would be mediated by positive affect, which would be moderated by disease severity (operationalized here as risk stratification for disease progression). It was also hypothesized that BF would increase over time, such that BF at the end of CR (i.e., Time 2), would be significantly higher than BF at the beginning of CR (i.e., Time 1). Results showed that the hypothesis about BF increasing over time was supported, but the remaining were not supported. That is, risk stratification failed to moderate the relationship between positive affect and BF. In addition, positive affect was unrelated to depressive symptoms and six-minute walk scores, but negatively related to healthy dietary behaviors. Study limitations and future directions are discussed.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of the literature -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion
M.A. (Master of Arts)