In Sickness and In Health: Interpersonal Risk and Resilience in Cardiovascular Disease

  • J. M. Ruiz
  • H. A. Hamann
  • J. C. Coyne
  • A. Compare


Charles Jacobs and his wife were going through their normal Saturday morning routine when he experienced sudden and severe chest pressure, radiating pain, nausea, and shortness of breath. Mrs. Jacobs quickly called for paramedics before returning to monitor and comfort her husband while experiencing her own emotional reactions. In the days that followed, Mr. Jacobs was diagnosed with CAD and significant occlusion in several vessels. He underwent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery and was given a post-surgical regimen of medications, exercise, and diet before being discharged a week after the initial event. Due to the surgical incision and recovery process, Mr. Jacobs must adhere to a number of behavioral restrictions, which limit his ability to do household chores, drive a car and go to his job (he is an independent auto mechanic). In addition to his health and medical regimen concerns , Mr. Jacobs struggles with worries about his family’s financial situation. He is also concerned about the prospect of being a burden to his wife, who must help in his care while managing their household and family. Mrs. Jacobs has always been somewhat of a worrier, and this incident has left her concerned about her husband’s health and the possibility of life without him. Now her day revolves around her husband, watching what he eats and how he takes his medications, asking him to “slow down,” and vigilantly monitoring for signs of physical problems. In response to his wife’s concerns, Mr. Jacobs tries to convince her of his health by pushing himself to resume his normal activities, while denying his own concerns and suppressing any illness behaviors.


Cardiovascular Reactivity Psychosocial Risk Factor Transactional Model Health Psychol Interpersonal Influence 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Ruiz
    • 1
  • H. A. Hamann
    • 1
  • J. C. Coyne
    • 2
  • A. Compare
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Practice and Community MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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