Effect of intervention for psychological distress on rehospitalization rates in cardiac rehabilitation patients

John L. Black, Thomas G. Allison, Donald E. Williams, Teresa A. Rummans, Gerald T. Gau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Psychosocial factors affect the development of coronary heart disease and morbidity and mortality of patients with known coronary heart disease. A prior study has shown that psychological distress in patients with known coronary heart disease increased medical and economic costs. This study examined the effects of commonly available psychological interventions offered to patients entering cardiac rehabilitation after hospitalization for angina, myocardial infarction, angioplasty, or coronary artery bypass grafting. A total of 380 patients were screened with the Symptom Checklist- 90-Revised (SCL-90-R). Those with T-scores ≤63 (>91 percentile) on the General Severity Index (GSI) subscale were randomly assigned to usual care or special intervention. Special intervention included a psychiatric evaluation, plus one to seven sessions of behavioral therapy. The percentage of patients rehospitalized for cardiac symptoms within 12 months of psychological evaluation was 43% for special intervention and 40% for usual care (NS). A correction for crossover between the treatment groups resulted in a favorable trend toward intervention, with 35% of the psychologically treated patients rehospitalized vs. 48% of the untreated patients (NS). Although there was a nonsignificant reduction of the SCL-90-R's GSI T-score, the depression score was significantly reduced in the special intervention group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-143
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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