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Health locus of control and the sense of self-efficacy in patients with systolic heart failure: a pilot study

Authors Rydlewska A, Krzysztofik J, Libergal J, Rybak A, Banasiak W, Ponikowski P, Jankowska EA

Received 19 December 2012

Accepted for publication 9 January 2013

Published 19 April 2013 Volume 2013:7 Pages 337—343


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Agnieszka Rydlewska,1,2 Justyna Krzysztofik,3 Julia Libergal,3 Agata Rybak,3 Waldemar Banasiak,1 Piotr Ponikowski,1,2 Ewa A Jankowska1,2

1Centre for Heart Diseases, Department of Cardiology, Military Hospital, Wroclaw, Poland; 2Department of Heart Diseases, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland; 3Student’s Scientific Organization, Laboratory for Applied Research on Cardiovascular System, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland

Background: Treatment of heart failure (HF) requires the lifelong adherence to medical self-care regimes. The objective of this study was to examine health-control beliefs and the sense of self-efficacy (psychological features particularly important for efficient compliance among patients suffering from chronic diseases) in patients with systolic HF in relation to clinical status and depressive symptoms.
Subjects and methods: Sixty-six consecutive patients with chronic systolic HF, hospitalized in the Centre for Heart Diseases, Military Hospital (94% men, age: 61 ± 11 years, ischemic etiology: 63%, left ventricular ejection fraction: 32% ± 12%), filled in (during their hospital stay): (1) the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale measuring three possible localizations of health control: “internality” (ie, the belief that health status depends only on personal decisions and behaviors); “powerful others externality” ([PHLC subscale] ie, the conviction that health depends on “powerful people” such as doctors, family members, close friends), and “chance externality” (ie, belief that health status is determined by chance, fate, or luck), and (2) the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale. The results obtained by HF patients were compared to those reported by patients with other chronic diseases and healthy subjects.
Results: In patients with HF, internality was similar to values obtained by patients with diabetes, men after myocardial infarction, and women after mastectomy; and was lower than in healthy subjects. Powerful others externality was more pronounced in patients with HF as compared to other groups of patients and healthy people. Only women after mastectomy had higher scores of PHLC. In patients with HF, chance externality was similar to values reported in patients with renal failure, men after myocardial infarction, and women after mastectomy; and was less pronounced than in healthy subjects. The majority (77%) of patients with HF were characterized by a high sense of self-efficacy (>the 7th sten score), having the highest sense of self-efficacy among patients with other chronic diseases and healthy controls. Higher internality was accompanied by higher sense of self-efficacy (P < 0.05) in patients with HF. Subjects with high plasma N-terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide (reflecting the disease severity) had the least pronounced internality (P < 0.05), whereas those with more advance depressive symptoms had the lower sense of self-efficacy (P = < 0.05).
Conclusion: Patients with systolic HF demonstrate a conviction that other people, including physicians, have a large influence on their health status, and at the same time are aware of the efficacy of their own activities in coping with the disease. Such a configuration of psychological features seems to be beneficial in the context of the developing modern strategies, which due to the improved cooperation between the physicians and the patients could enhance the compliance in patients with HF.

Keywords: health locus of control, self-efficacy, heart failure, compliance, depressive symptoms

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