Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing


Female spouses are the main providers of health care and support to patients with heart disease yet little is known about spousal health beliefs and behaviors. Information is needed to generate knowledge regarding the influence of spousal beliefs and behaviors on the health of the family unit. The purpose of this study is to identify female spousal health behaviors, beliefs and perceived health value in an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program. The convenience sample consisted of 32 female spouses from an upper Midwest outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program. The mean age was 60 years with the majority of spouses having significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Results indicated that spouses tended to define health as an overall desire of well-being or wellness (M=5.1) rather than clinically (M=4.97) as an absence of disease. The definition of health as wellness was significantly (p<.05) with higher Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP-II) scores. The subscale means (1 to 4) of health promoting behaviors most often performed include: Spiritual growth (M=3.0), interpersonal relations (M=2.98), nutrition (M=2.91), stress management (M=2.54), health responsibility (M=2.46), and physical activity (M=2.10). The study results suggest female spouses who seek an overall sense of well being are more motivated to perform health-promoting behaviors.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Heart -- Diseases -- Patients -- Rehabilitation Wives -- Attitudes Health behavior



Number of Pages