1. Ellis, Jordan M. MA
  2. Whited, Matthew C. PhD
  3. Freeman, John Taylor MA
  4. Corson, Ansley T. MA
  5. Jameson, John Paul PhD
  6. Greenway, Stacey MA
  7. Sager, David M. BA
  8. Midgette, Emily P.
  9. Varju, Eliza V.


Purpose: Participation in cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation (CVPR) programs can lead to improved functional abilities and improved quality of life, but attendance and adherence to these programs remain suboptimal. Behavioral therapies have emphasized the importance of life value identification as a guide for goal setting and behavior change for both psychological and physical health conditions. Individuals who choose to engage in behaviors that align with their life values are thought to be intrinsically reinforced. The purpose of the following qualitative study was to interview patients enrolled in CVPR about their own life values and motivating factors related to healthy behavior changes.


Methods: Thirty cardiac or pulmonary patients were recruited from a CVPR program and participated in a semistructured interview about their life values and motivating factors related to program engagement. The data were transcribed and analyzed thematically.


Results: Participants identified a wide range of values related to program engagement, and only half of the participants endorsed health as a value. The most frequently endorsed life values included being active, family, and independence. The interviews indicated that, although patients make lifestyle changes in the program to improve their physical health, there are often other values that primarily guide their choice to engage in and maintain lifestyle behaviors.


Conclusions: Life values can serve as a powerful guide for individual behavior change. The present study suggests that the piloting of brief values interventions early in CVPR treatment is warranted and has the potential to improve patient outcomes.