Perceived Social Support in Persons With Heart Failure Living With an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator: A Cross-sectional Explorative Study.

Research paper by Hanna H Allemann, Anna A Strömberg, Ingela I Thylén

Indexed on: 01 Aug '18Published on: 01 Aug '18Published in: The Journal of cardiovascular nursing


The links between chronic illness, psychological well-being, and social support have previously been established. Social isolation and loneliness have shown an increased mortality risk for those with heart failure (HF). Increasingly more people with HF are living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), but only a few small-scale studies have focused on social support in this population. The aim of this study was to explore factors related to perceived social support in a large cohort of individuals with HF living with an ICD. All eligible adult ICD recipients in the Swedish ICD registry were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. For this analysis, those with HF and complete data on perceived social support were included (N = 1550; age, 67.3 (SD, 9.8) years; 19.5% female). Most reported a high level of social support, but 18% did not. In logistic regression, living alone was the greatest predictor of low/medium support. Lower social support for those living alone was associated with poorer perceived health status, having symptoms of depression, and experiencing low perceived control. For those living with someone, lower support was associated with female gender, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and less control. Heart failure status and perceived symptom severity were not related to the outcome. One in five participants reported low/medium social support. Our study underlines the complex relationships between perceived social support, psychological well-being and perceived control over the heart condition. Multiple aspects need to be taken into account when developing interventions to provide psychosocial support and optimize outcomes in this patient group.