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Contributions of supportive relationships to heart failure self-care
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing (2009)
  • Margaret Sebern, Marquette University
  • Barbara Riegel, University of Pennsylvania

Supportive relationships are known to improve outcomes for persons with heart failure (HF). Supporters may do so by improving self-care, but little is known about the influence of supportive relationships on HF self-care.

The purpose of this study was to explore background characteristics associated with supportive relationships, and the contribution of supportive relationships to HF self-care. The construct of shared care was used to operationalize supportive relationships. Shared care refers to a system of interpersonal processes (communication, decision making, and reciprocity) used in close relationships to exchange support. A cross sectional design was employed recruiting 75 HF dyads.

Older patients who perceived their health as better reported better shared care communication. Spouse dyads perceived more reciprocity in their relationship than non-spouse dyads. The process of patient shared care decision making was related to HF self-care maintenance (r=0.65) and self-care confidence (r=0.52). Patient communication (r=0.24) and reciprocity (r=0.41) were related to self-care confidence. Caregiver decision making (r=0.29) contributed to self-care maintenance; and caregiver decision making (r=0.37) and reciprocity (r=0.35) contributed to self-care confidence.

These findings suggest that augmenting the processes of shared care may be a valuable focus for future intervention research.

  • Family caregiver,
  • Social support,
  • Chronic disease,
  • Interpersonal relationships,
  • Self-care,
  • Heart failure
Publication Date
June, 2009
Citation Information
Margaret Sebern and Barbara Riegel. "Contributions of supportive relationships to heart failure self-care" European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing Vol. 8 Iss. 2 (2009)
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