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Medical Practice

Psychological Stress in Wives of Patients with Myocardial Infarction

Br Med J 1973; 2 doi: (Published 14 April 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;2:101
  1. M. Skelton,
  2. J. Dominian


    In a study of the psychological consequences of myocardial infarction on 65 wives of husbands admitted to a coronary care unit feelings of loss, depression, and guilt were common at the time of infarction. Many wives (38%) found the period of convalescence after discharge very stressful, attributing this to fears of a recurrent infarct and marital tension owing to their husbands' increased irritability and dependency. These anxieties and tensions gradually diminished and at one year after the initial illness only eight wives whose husbands had made a good physical recovery still showed considerable psychological disturbance. It is suggested that unnecessary emotional distress, particularly in the initial period after discharge from hospital, can be alleviated by increased help and support from the hospital and family doctor.

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