Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Its potential ramifications on all aspects of life, for patients and partners, are just beginning to be understood. Although research has focused on the individual who has received the diagnosis, relatively little is known about how couples manage CVD. This article presents a systematic review of literature that focuses on how couples cope with one partner's CVD diagnosis. A systematic review is warranted to orient practitioners, policy makers, and researchers to the state of existing knowledge and its gaps and to identify what still needs to be done. Method: Data were extracted from 25 peer-reviewed articles that met our inclusion criteria. Content examined included theory integration, coping constructs and instruments, samples, analyses, and findings. Results: Most articles successfully integrated theory in the studies' respective conceptualizations and designs. Most used valid and reliable instruments to measure coping. Principal limitations included problematic sampling strategies and analysis techniques, thereby limiting external validity. Discussion: Principal implications of this review's findings relate to our fields' need to provide more care focused on dyads (vs. individual patients), adopt an integrated model in health care, and conduct systemic, longitudinal research to gain a better grasp on how coping changes over time. Doing so will serve to better equip providers in the support of patients and partners living with CVD.
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic illness