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cardiac rehabilitation, coronary heart disease, motivational interviewing, stages of change, women



  1. Beckie, Theresa M. PhD, RN, FAHA


There is undeniable evidence for physical and psychosocial benefits of cardiac rehabilitation programs for individuals suffering from coronary heart disease. Yet, fewer women than men are referred to, begin, or complete cardiac rehabilitation programs. The numerous logistical, economic, and motivational barriers to healthy behavior change place women at risk for subsequent CHD events. To close this gender gap and improve outcomes, novel, efficacious, and individualized rehabilitative approaches for women with coronary heart disease are needed. The purpose of this article is to describe a theory-driven behavioral intervention designed exclusively for women with coronary heart disease. The 12-week intervention is being tested in a randomized controlled trial involving women referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program. The tenets of the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change and motivational interviewing guided the development and implementation of the stage-matched, individualized intervention to promote healthy behavior change for women with coronary heart disease. The ongoing trial will examine the efficacy of the intervention on physiological and psychosocial outcomes.