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coronary artery bypass, depression, health, quality of life, spouse caregivers



  1. Halm, Margo A. PhD, RN, CCRN, APRN-BC
  2. Bakas, Tamilyn DNS, RN, FAHA


Background: Coronary artery bypass surgery patients often rely on spouses for assistance during recovery. Caregiving may be stressful, adversely affecting caregiver physical and emotional health and, therefore, ability to provide care.


Objective and Methods: This cross-sectional correlational study investigated factors associated with caregiver depressive symptoms, outcomes, and perceived physical health. Using a model from existing theories, these dependent variables were considered "health-related quality of life" outcomes. A convenience sample of 166 coronary artery bypass spouse caregivers completed surveys on patient health status, caregiver personality and relationship factors, task difficulty, depressive symptoms, caregiver outcomes, and perceived physical health.


Results: Using regression analysis, worse patient proxy health ratings and less personal mastery were associated with greater caregiver depressive symptoms. Being a female caregiver, worse patient proxy health ratings, lower mutuality, and more caregiver depressive symptoms were associated with negative caregiver outcomes. Younger spousal age and worse patient proxy health ratings were associated with worse caregiver perceived physical health.


Conclusion: Although further longitudinal investigations are recommended, findings suggest that helping coronary artery bypass spouse caregivers master their role, improve their relationship with the patient, and avoid or reduce depressive symptoms can improve caregiver outcomes and are therefore areas for possible intervention.