To describe and explore how partners rate their intimate relationship before and after the patients' first myocardial infarction. A further aim was to investigate the association between partners' rating of their intimate relationship and self-rated health.
To date, information on how partners experience the intimate relationship before and after a patient's myocardial infarction is sparse.
A descriptive and exploratory design with longitudinal data collection.
The study comprised 127 partners, aged 34-87 years. Data collection included self-reported information on socio-demographic data, intimate relationship and self-rated health one year before and one year after patients' first myocardial infarction. Intimate relationship was assessed by the Swedish version of the Relationship Assessment Scale. Self-rated health was evaluated by the EuroQoL visual analogue scale.
In general, partners reported high satisfaction with their intimate relationship both before and after the patients' myocardial infarction. Women reported somewhat lower ratings in their intimate relationship than men before the myocardial infarction. Women increased their ratings after one year, while men on average decreased their ratings. Partners with higher education reported lower ratings for intimate relationship after one year. Those with children living at home rated intimate relationship lower than those without children living at home after one year. Partners' self-rated health status was stable over time. No significant association between intimate relationship and self-rated health was found.
This study provides important insights regarding couples' relationships from the perspective of the partner. Socio-demographic factors such as sex, educational level, having children living at home and employment status may influence how the relationship, from the partners' perspective, is affected by a myocardial infarction event.
This study provides insight into how partners rate their intimate relationship and self-rated health over time before and after patients' myocardial infarction.