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Gender differences in health perceptions and meaning in persons living with heart failure.


OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to determine whether gender differences exist in health perceptions, psychosocial adjustment to illness, and concerns related to illness in patients with heart failure (HF). DESIGN: Thirty-two patients (50% women) from a single outpatient HF clinic were asked to complete standardized tools to assess health perceptions and psychosocial adjustment to illness. Open-ended questions were used to obtain data on concerns related to HF. RESULTS: The women had higher health perceptions than men did; they also demonstrated better psychosocial adjustment to illness. The qualitative data further suggest that women ascribed more positive meanings to their illness than men did. CONCLUSION: The current study underscored the importance of gender differences in health perceptions related to HF. Patient teaching and counseling can be tailored to address the gender-specific concerns of men and women suffering with this condition to improve patient outcomes.

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