The meaning of health and the experience of coronary heart disease in Italian-speaking cardiac patients: implications for cardiac rehabilitation programs

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Scuderi, Carmelo S (2005) The meaning of health and the experience of coronary heart disease in Italian-speaking cardiac patients: implications for cardiac rehabilitation programs. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


The study of the lay meanings of health has shown that good health can have a variety of meanings and that thèse meanings can influence health behaviour. Health and illness are subjective expériences which are determined by the interrelations of individual, social and cultural factors. The influence of thèse factors on the expérience of CHD have implications for secondary prévention programs such as cardiac rehabilitation and the capacity of thèse programs to address the increasing importance of psychosocial factors in CHD. The Common Sensé Model (CSM) of health and illness, proposed by Howard Leventhal and colleagues, provides a dynamic model for the understanding of health and illness behaviours which can contribute to a better understanding of thèse social and cultural factors. Perceptions of health and illness are especially important when considering the health behaviours of culturallydiverse groups, such as Italian-speaking cardiac patients. This thesis explores the lay meanings of health and the illness perceptions of Italian-speaking cardiac patients who have participated in a language-specific cardiac rehabilitation program. Semistructured interviews with Italian cardiac patients and health professionals were conducted. Findings established a priori .and a posteriori thèmes and the thèmes served to demonstrate how the response to cardiac illness was influenced by the Personal expériences and broader psychosocial contexts of the participants. Implications for traditional cardiac rehabilitation programs include the potential benefïts of addressing the psychosocial needs of culturally-diverse cardiac patients, which can accommodate the subjective meanings that they make of their illness expérience and of their broader health and social needs.

Additional Information

Doctor of Psychology

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1102 Cardiorespiratory Medicine and Haematology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords heart disease, cardiac rehabilitation, coronary heart disease, cardiac rehabilitation programs, biomedical model, perceptions of health, perceptions of illness, Common Sense Model, biopsychosocial, lay meaning of health, Australia, Italy, Italian, Italians
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