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PhD project: Experience of psychosocial support among patients with heart disease, predictors, and the association with health outcomes

Psychosocial factors (e.g. depression, anxiety and loneliness) increase the risk of incident heart disease, and psychological and social reactions are common in patients with established heart disease. While these conditions, in themselves, calls for attention, they are also associated with poor quality of life and poor prognosis.

Buffers exist, such as perceived psychosocial support, that mitigate the impact of distress on health outcomes, with the health care system playing a potentially important role in providing this support and the best quality of care.

Paradoxically, psychosocial support is the dimension of quality of health care which has received least attention. It is unknown how patients perceive the level of psychosocial support by the health care system, and if particular subsets of patients experience less psychosocial support than others. Moreover, it has not been explored whether a high level of perceived psychosocial support provided by the health care sector decreases healthcare utilisation and mortality.


The overall aim of this project is to provide knowledge about heart patients’ experiences with psychosocial support by the healthcare system of Denmark.

  1. To examine the prevalence of perceived psychosocial support among patients with heart disease.
  2. To examine predictors of perceived psychosocial support among patients with heart disease e.g. if younger patients with poorer health and fewer resources are more likely to report lack of psychosocial support.
  3. To examine whether there is a relation between perceived psychosocial support among patients with heart disease and long term health outcomes (morbidity and mortality).


The project is based on data from 2,496 heart patients participating in a nationwide survey in Denmark. The questionnaire was based on themes identified in qualitative interviews (patients, caregivers and experts) and a literature review, and covered patient-reported experience measures including psychosocial support and patient-reported outcome measures. The information will be linked to registries to gain information on possible predictors and follow-up outcome measurements.

Project period

2016-2019. The first results of the project will be available from October 2017.

Collaboration and Funding

The Danish Knowledge Center for Rehabilitation and Palliative care (REHPA) and The Danish Heart Foundation.

Last Updated 19.03.2019