OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe spouses' life stressors, supports, perceptions of illness severity, role strain, physical and mental symptoms of stress, and marital quality 1 year after the mate's coronary artery bypass graft surgery. METHODS: This descriptive study was the third component of a longitudinal panel investigation. (The first component was a period within 48 hours of surgery, and the second was 6 weeks after discharge.) One year after the mate's surgery, spouses received the following instruments in the mail: the Family Inventory of Life Events and Changes, the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire, the Cantril Ladder Scale, the Strain Questionnaire, the Role Strain Scale and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Subjects were a convenience sample of 49 women whose husbands were alive 1 year after their first bypass surgery. Of the women in the sample (n = 49), 98% were white, and the mean age was 56 years. RESULTS: Social support was moderate and significantly less 1 year after surgery than during the first two components (48 hours and 6 weeks after surgery). Women still perceived their husbands to have some illness severity 1 year after surgery. They continued to have physical and mental symptoms of stress and had significantly greater role strain than during the first two periods. Marital quality was average. Spouses reported making several life-style changes. DISCUSSION: During the first year after the patient's bypass surgery, spouses experienced many changes. Although physical and mental symptoms of stress remained the same, role strain increased and social support decreased. The findings suggest testing of such interventions as stress management and time management techniques, support groups, and other psychoeducational interventions. CONCLUSIONS: Although the situation remains difficult for the spouse 1 year after the patient's surgery, nurses and physicians can foster and support spouses through many adjustments and changes.

You do not currently have access to this content.