Health  Vol.6 No.20 , December 2014
Life before Myocardial Infarction
—A Qualitative Study of Middle-Aged Women
ABSTRACT
The health burden of myocardial infarction is rising for middle-aged women and they are underrepresented in research of cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore how life had been for middle-aged women before they suffered a myocardial infarction (MI). Through a health care register, we identified all women (n = 46) under 65 years of age in a defined region in southeast Sweden who had suffered an MI the past 2 years and a strategic selection of n = 16 women from these was made. These selected women were interviewed and their narratives were interpreted by qualitative content analysis. The qualitative interviews generated five general themes: “Serious life events”, “Negative affectivity”, “Loneliness”, “Being a good girl” and “Lack of control”. The interviews revealed that many of these women had been exposed to extreme and repeated traumatic life events in their lives. Many had a cynical attitude towards others, felt lonely and experienced a lack of social support. Many of these women endeavored to “be a good girl”, which was a special psychosocial phenomenon found. This study uncovered that these women before they suffered an MI were affected by a variety of psychosocial factors. The study stresses the importance of psychosocial risk factors in the assessment of middle-aged women’s risk profile for MI. A general conclusion for clinical practice is that in the assessment of the individual risk for myocardial infarction for middle-aged women, potential psychosocial factors might also be considered.

Cite this paper
Wennerholm, C. , Jern, M. , Honkasalo, M. and Faresjö, T. (2014) Life before Myocardial Infarction
—A Qualitative Study of Middle-Aged Women. Health, 6, 2765-2774. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.620316.
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