Does illness perception influences anxiety after 5 years?

Greco, A. and Annoni, Anna Maria and Maloberti, A. and D'Addario, M. and Giannatasio, C. and Steca, P. (2018) Does illness perception influences anxiety after 5 years? In: 32nd annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, 21-25 August 2018, Galway, Ireland. (Unpublished)

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Background: the way a chronic patient thinks about his condition plays a fundamental role in the clinical evolution and progression of CV diseases, including arterial hypertension (HT). Some previous studies suggested that HT is related to a range of psychological characteristics, including anxiety, which, as well as illness perception, could lead to noncompliance with medical treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate if illness perception dimensions and their variations over time could predict anxiety. Design and methods: a total of 345 outpatients followed by the Hypertension Unit of S. Gerardo Hospital (Monza, Italy) affected by essential hypertension were recruited and assessed at the baseline and a total of 196 at a 5-years follow-up. Patients were asked to complete a battery of psychological questionnaires under the guidance of a psychologist; moreover, anamnestic and clinical data were evaluated. The associations between illness perception domains, clinical risk factors and anxiety were explored using multivariate hierarchical regression analyses. Findings: at t0 the mean age was 55.40±11.2years.The results from hierarchical regression showed that the variation over time of the HT consequences (beta=0.233, p<.01) and of the disease identity (beta=0.184, p<.05) were significantly and independently associated with anxiety at the follow-up. Furthermore, identity (beta=0.202, p=0.53) and emotional representation (beta=0.184, p=0.57) showed a trend that approached significance. These associations with anxiety were independent of clinical risk factors and of the time of the HT diagnosis. Discussion: Current findings may contribute to the development of interventions, targeted on specific domains of illness perception, against the risk of anxiety disorders in HT patients.

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