Misconceptions and Illness Perceptions in Cardiac Patients and Their Spouses: A Pilot Study

Maria João Figueiras, Rita Monteiro, Raúl Caeiro


Aim: The aims of the present study were concerned with the characterization of illness perceptions of heart disease and cardiac misconceptions in patients and their partners. We also examined the associations between illness perceptions and cardiac misconceptions with sociodemographic information and mood. Method: The participants were 46 cardiac patients, 32 with a participating partner; all completed an anonymous self-administered questionnaire. A combined methodology (qualitative and quantitative) was used. The variables were assessed by using several self-report instruments and, in the case of patients’ illness perceptions, also by collecting drawings of the heart. Results: The results indicated that illness perceptions differed according to sex, age and professional status of the patients and that these perceptions were related to personality traits. The partners reported higher levels of concern towards illness than patients. The analysis of the patients’ drawings of the heart suggests that area and height are associated with specific illness perceptions. Conclusion: Overall, the present study provides a modest but significant contribution to describe illness perceptions and cardiac misconceptions of patients and their partners and their association with recovery outcomes.


heart disease; cardiac misconceptions; illness perceptions; patients; partners