Anxiety has both functionally appropriate and pathological consequences. Among patients with cardiac disease, anxiety can be functionally appropriate when it triggers an individual to quickly seek treatment for acute cardiac symptoms. But anxiety may have pathological consequences when it is persistent or severe. These consequences may include the following: difficulty adhering to prescribed treatments and making recommended lifestyle changes, adoption of or failure to change risky behaviors, increased risk for acute cardiac events, and increased risk for in-hospital complications after admission for acute coronary syndrome.

Yet, because anxiety is a universal emotion that is managed without consequence by many people, its significance is often ignored by healthcare providers. The purpose of this presentation is to describe findings from a biobehavioral program of research in which the impact of psychosocial (with a major emphasis on anxiety) and behavioral variables on...

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