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A longitudinal inquiry into directionality of effects between coping and information needs in hypertensive patients

Authors Greco A, Cappelletti ER, Luyckx K, D'Addario M, Giannattasio C, Steca P

Received 22 March 2018

Accepted for publication 23 June 2018

Published 9 November 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 567—580


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Andrea Greco,1 Erika Rosa Cappelletti,2 Koen Luyckx,3,4 Marco D’Addario,5 Cristina Giannattasio,6,7 Patrizia Steca5

1Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy; 2Social healthcare Academy, Polis Lombardia, Regional Institute for Policy Support, Milan, Italy; 3Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; 4UNIBS, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa; 5Department of Psychology, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy; 6Department of Cardiology, ASST GOM Niguarda Ca’ Granda, Milan, Italy; 7Medicine and Surgery Department, Bicocca University, Milan, Italy

Purpose: It is well recognized that effective health communication is associated with better adherence to medical prescriptions, behavioral changes, and enhanced perception of control over the disease. However, there is limited knowledge about the variables on which to tailor health messages. This study examined whether coping strategies were related to information needs over time in a sample of patients with hypertension.
Patients and methods: A three-wave longitudinal design was used to examine the potential reciprocal relationships among variables. The sample included 271 patients (43.5% women) affected by essential arterial hypertension with a mean age of 54.66 years (SD =10.74 years; range 30–78 years). Data on patients’ demographic characteristics, coping strategies, and information needs were collected three times over 12 months. To test the directionality of the relationships linking coping to information needs, cross-lagged path analyses were applied in a structural equation modeling approach.
Results: Active coping was related to a greater need for information regarding behavioral habits; avoidance coping was negatively associated with the need for information regarding daily life activities, while passive coping showed a positive relationship with this need. Moreover, results sustained the hypothesis that the relationship between coping and information needs was bi-directional. In fact, greater need for information about the disease and its pharmacological treatment was related to greater adoption of active coping strategies. The need for information about risk and complications was associated with the coping strategy related to alcohol use.
Conclusion: These results provide important suggestions for implementing more effective intervention programs aimed at fostering patients’ self-care abilities. As it was possible to modify coping strategies, health care providers may consider measuring patients’ strategies before the medical examination so they have time to refine the information they give to patients.

Keywords: coping strategies, health communications, chronic diseases, hypertension, intervention programs

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