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Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the significance of emotional distress immediately after e myocardial infarction as a predictor of physical, psychological, and social outcomes and resource use. Methods: In an epidemiological survey, demographic and cardiological data were obtained for all patients from a defined geographical area who had had a myocardial infarction (according to diagnostic criteria of the Monitoring Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease [MONICA] trial). Hospital survivors were interviewed and were asked to complete self-report assessments on mental state and quality of life. Full replies were available at baseline for 347 subjects. Self-report follow-up questionnaire information was collected 3 months and 1 year later. Results: Fifteen percent of patients scored as probable cases of anxiety or depression. They were more likely than noncases to report preinfarct distress and poor adjustment (as indicated on the 36-item Medical Outcome Study short form) There was an improvement at 3 months, but there was little overall or individual change after that time. Anxiety and depression did not predict subsequent mortality but did significantly predict poor outcome at 1 year on all dimensions of the 36-item short form quality-of-life measure and on specific measures of everyday activity ant reports of chest pain, use of primary care resources, and secondary prevention lifestyle changes. Conclusions: Subjects who are distressed in the hospital are at high risk of adverse psychological and quality-of-life outcomes during the ensuing year. Our findings strengthen the argument for in-hospital identification and treatment of patients with depression and anxiety after myocardial infarction.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychosomatic Medicine

Publication Date





212 - 219