Gender differences in cardiac rehabilitation outcomes: do women benefit equally in psychological health?

Barth, Jürgen; Volz, Andreas; Schmid, Jean-Paul; Kohls, Sonja; von Kanel, Roland; Znoj, Hansjörg; Saner, Hugo (2009). Gender differences in cardiac rehabilitation outcomes: do women benefit equally in psychological health? Journal of women's health, 18(12), pp. 2033-2039. Larchmont, N.Y.: Mary Ann Liebert 10.1089/jwh.2008.1058

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BACKGROUND: Psychological factors are important in the etiology and prognosis of coronary heart disease (CHD). Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) aims to reduce psychological distress, besides other somatic risk factors. Studies have shown that CR is effective in reducing psychological distress, but little is known about gender-specific outcome differences. Our objective was to examine whether women and men benefit equally from outpatient CR in terms of reduction in psychological distress and whether women show more impaired psychological health at baseline of CR than do men. METHODS: We enrolled 441 CHD patients (mean age 58+/-11 years, 79.8% men) who underwent a 12-week outpatient CR program. Psychological dimensions, namely, anxiety, depression, vital exhaustion, social inhibition, and negative affect, were assessed at baseline and post-CR. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), controlling for age, disease severity, and exercise capacity, was applied to test for gender-specific differences at baseline and change between baseline and post-CR. In addition, gender-specific effect sizes were calculated for the change on psychological dimensions. RESULTS: Women and men did not differ on any psychological measure at baseline of CR. The effect sizes show small to moderate treatment effects on the psychological dimensions assessed. Gender had a significant impact on change on the dimensions vital exhaustion (F=5.040(df=1), p<0.05) and social inhibition (F=5.74(df=1), p<0.05). Women showed larger change on social inhibition and smaller change on vital exhaustion than men. CONCLUSIONS: Women and men do not differ in the extent of psychological distress at baseline of CR, which could be explained also by the exclusion of highly distressed women from treatment. CR is less effective among women with regard to vital exhaustion and more effective with regard to social inhibition compared with men in a sample of low distressed patients.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Cardiovascular Disorders (DHGE) > Clinic of Cardiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology > Centre of Competence for Psychosomatic Medicine
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Barth, Jürgen, Schmid-Walker, Jean-Paul, von Känel, Roland, Znoj, Hans Jörg, Saner, Hugo Ernst




Mary Ann Liebert




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:09

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:23

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URI: (FactScience: 191341)

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