Psychology ETDs

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Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is the most common means of targeting risk factors related to cardiovascular disease, but there are still uncertainties regarding what components of CR are most essential to successful rehabilitation. The current research focuses on perceived social support and loneliness and how these psychosocial factors influence health directly or indirectly by moderating perceived stress. Patients (n= 122) who completed a 12 week CR program agreed to participate, and they completed measures at both baseline and program completion. Multiple regression was used to determine if the direct or indirect moderation model best accounts for changes in days spend exercising, positive affect, negative affect, depression, and anxiety. A paired-sample t-test was used to determine changes in reported loneliness from baseline to CR completion. The results demonstrate that the direct effects models were best at predicting changes in depression and anxiety, while the indirect, moderation models were better for predicting changes in days spent exercising, positive affect, and negative affect. Also, those who were most the most socially inhibited at the start of the program experienced the greatest decrease in loneliness from baseline to follow-up. The findings suggest, that different interventions may be useful for targeting difference health variables and that those who are the most socially inhibited may benefit the most from social support interventions. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Vowles, Kevin

Second Committee Member

Witherington, David




social support, loneliness, cardiac rehabilitation

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