Prevalence and characteristics of multiple psychiatric disorders in cardiac rehabilitation patients

Eva R. Serber, John F. Todaro, Peter L. Tilkemeier, Raymond Niaura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Anxiety and depressive disorders have been established as independent risk factors for the development of and recovery from coronary heart disease (CHD). However, few studies have reported on the prevalence and personal characteristics of comorbid psychiatric disorders (PD) among cardiac populations. This project examined the prevalence of comorbid depressive and anxiety disorders among men and women with CHD commencing cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and the demographic, medical, and psychosocial characteristics among those meeting multiple PD criteria. METHODS: Participants were 143 CHD patients (M age, 61 years; SD, 11.2; 70% men, 91% Caucasian, 64% married) entering CR who were evaluated via a semistructured, psychiatric interview to assess both current and lifetime prevalence rates of PD. Demographic, medical, and psychosocial variables were also assessed. RESULTS: Approximately 45% met criteria for at least 1 anxiety disorder, and 20% met criteria for either major depressive disorder or dysthymic disorder either at the time of evaluation or in their lifetime. Across all participants, 26% met criteria for ≥2 PD. Of those with a depressive disorder, 76% also met criteria for at least 1 anxiety disorder. Participants with comorbid PD were of younger age and female and reported less education (P < .01). Comorbidity was also associated with self-reported overall diminished physical, emotional, and social quality of life, depression, and anxiety. CONCLUSION: Comorbid PD are highly prevalent in the CR setting and are associated with specific demographic characteristics and reduced quality of life. These data offer additional support that routine screening for PD is warranted in outpatient cardiac settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Anxiety
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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