Negative illness perceptions are associated with new-onset depression following myocardial infarction

Chris Dickens, Linda McGowan, Carol Percival, Barbara Tomenson, Lawrence Cotter, Anthony Heagerty, Francis Creed

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: To test the hypothesis that negative perceptions about heart disease at the time of the myocardial infarction (MI) were associated with the onset of new episodes of depression following MI. Method: We recruited 269 subjects admitted following first MI and monitored their depression status over the subsequent 12 months. At baseline, we recorded demographic information, family and personal history of cardiac disease and severity of MI; subjective health beliefs were assessed using the Illness Perceptions Questionnaire (IPQ). We assessed depression at baseline, 6 and 12 months following MI using a standardised questionnaire, validated in this population against a semistructured research interview. Results: In the days following MI, patients who subsequently developed depression were more likely to anticipate that their heart disease would last a long time (P=.012) and was unlikely to be cured (P=.038). Controlling for potential confounding variables, scores on the IPQ remained associated with subsequent depression (P = .036), with anticipation that heart disease would last a long time [odds ratio (OR)=2.7, P=.013] and that heart disease could be cured (OR=0.45, P=.048) showing strongest association. Conclusions: Negative perceptions about heart disease in the days following admission to hospital with first MI are associated with the development of subsequent new episodes of depression. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)414-420
    Number of pages6
    JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


    • Depression
    • Illness perceptions
    • Myocardial Infarction


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