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caregivers, dyads, gender, heart failure, illness management



  1. Lee, Christopher S. PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, FHFSA
  2. Sethares, Kristen A. PhD, RN, CNE, FAHA
  3. Thompson, Jessica Harman PhD, RN, CCRN-K
  4. Faulkner, Kenneth M. PhD, RN, ANP
  5. Aarons, Emily
  6. Lyons, Karen S. PhD, FGSA


Background: The ways in which patients with heart failure (HF) and their care partners work together to manage HF are often overlooked.


Objective: The aim of this study was to identify and compare different patterns of HF dyadic illness management.


Methods: This was a secondary analysis of data on HF dyads. Heart failure management was measured using patient and care partner versions of the Self-Care of HF Index and European HF Self-care Behavior Scale. Latent class modeling was used to identify patterns of HF dyadic management.


Results: The mean age of the 62 patients and their care partners was 59.7 +/- 11.8 and 58.1 +/- 11.9 years, respectively. A majority of patients (71.0%) had class III/IV HF, and a majority of the couples (95.2%) were married. Two distinct dyadic patterns were observed, 1 collaborative management type (n = 42, 67.7%) and 1 autonomous management type (n = 20, 32.3%). Dyads in the autonomous pattern were mostly female patients with male care partners; patients in this pattern also were more anxious and depressed, and reported worse relationship quality compared with collaborative dyads.


Conclusion: There is an engendered spectrum of collaboration in how HF patient-care partner dyads work together to manage HF that needs to be considered in clinical care and research.