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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Illness Beliefs and Walking Behavior After Revascularization for Intermittent Claudication: A Qualitative Study
Authors: Cunningham, Margaret
Swanson, Vivien
Pappas, Elise
O'Carroll, Ronan
Holdsworth, Richard
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Keywords: illness beliefs
intermittent claudication
peripheral artery disease
physical activity
Issue Date: May-2014
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer
Citation: Cunningham M, Swanson V, Pappas E, O'Carroll R & Holdsworth R (2014) Illness Beliefs and Walking Behavior After Revascularization for Intermittent Claudication: A Qualitative Study, Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, 34 (3), pp. 195-201.
Abstract: PURPOSE: Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are recommended to increase physical activity to reduce cardiovascular risk. Vascular intervention (surgery or angioplasty) treats the symptom (intermittent claudication), but not the underlying cardiovascular disease. This study aims to explore the beliefs and physical activity behavior of patients with PAD who have received vascular intervention. METHODS: Twenty participants who had received a vascular intervention for intermittent claudication between 6 months and 2 years previously participated in semistructured interviews. The interviews explored illness and treatment beliefs and walking behavior. Data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically. RESULTS: Participants described a high level of ongoing symptoms (particularly pain) in their legs, despite having received vascular intervention. They viewed their illness as acute and treatable, and believed that pain was an indication of walking causing damage. They controlled their symptoms by avoiding walking and slowing their pace. Participants were generally unaware of the causes of the disease and were unaware of their increased risk of future cardiovascular health problems. There was a low level of congruence between participant beliefs about their illness and the recommendation to increase physical activity that may affect physical activity behavior. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that patients with PAD do not change physical activity behavior after diagnosis and treatment, because they hold dysfunctional and incongruous beliefs about PAD, treatment, and physical activity.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation & Prevention: May/June 2014 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - p 195–201 by Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. The original publication is available at:
Affiliation: Psychology
James Cook University
NHS Forth Valley

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