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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


SA, Nivaldete; VITAL, Luísa  and  CASTRO, Elisa. Beliefs about the causes of acute myocardial infarction. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2020, vol.21, n.2, pp.250-261. ISSN 1645-0086.

Health beliefs refers to mental schemas related to illness characteristics. Facing a health risk, health beliefs guide the signs identification and interpretation. Healthy or ill people seek explanations about the causes of the disease that induce coping behavior. Then, the present study examined causal beliefs about acute myocardial infarction with people with and without disease. Seventy-seven people participated in the study, 31 with acute myocardial infarction and 46 without disease, selected by convenience. Measures used were: a sociodemographic and health behavior questionnaire, open questions about causes of the disease derived from the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire - IPQ-R and its cause’s subscale. Results showed that people with and without disease had similar beliefs regarding to the causes of acute myocardial infection when asked openly. When they were stimulated, ill people attributed the disease more frequently to stress/worries, emotional states and destiny/bad lucky. In this way, participants illness beliefs seem to be more related to emotional / psychological states than their health behavior that directly affect their risk factors for acute myocardial infarction prevention and treatment. It is noted that participants need to understand better about risk factors that lead to acute myocardial infarction and about the role of their own behavior to adopt healthy life style.

Keywords : Acute myocardial infarction; cardiovascular disease; health beliefs; causal attribution; prevention; self-care.

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