Understanding self care coping styles in patients with chronic heart failure: A systematic review

Chia Chien Li*, Shiow Ching Shun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: Physical and psychological self care coping styles affect the quality of life among patients with heart failure. Understanding coping styles and related factors is important. Aims: 1) To understand coping involved with self care of physical and psychological aspects in chronic heart failure patients and 2) to understand the associated factors with self care coping. Method: A systemic review of databases PubMed, CINHAL, PsycINFO and Airti Library were searched with key terms: 'heart failure', 'coping' and 'self-care' for the period of January 1984 to October 2013. Results: Twenty-six studies were included. Emotion-focused coping (acceptance and disavowal) and problem-focused coping are positively associated with better physical and psychological self care, whereas an emotional approach with escape avoidance was negatively related to adaptive self care. Enhancing the use of emotion-focused coping with acceptance could facilitate problem-focused coping regarding physical self care (medication and dietary adherence) and reduce adverse drug effects. The associated factors in coping styles of physical and psychological self care included socio-demographic factors, health condition-related factors, patient-related factors and spirituality and religion factors. Conclusion: Emotion-focused coping with acceptance and disavowal, as well as problem-focused coping, may positively influence physical and psychological self care. Health care professionals should accept and allow patients to use emotion-focused coping, then help patients to use problem-focused coping skills. The influencing factors have important roles in individuals' coping styles. There is a lack of experimental and qualitative research to determine how the influencing factors affect self care coping, since this review is primarily of revealed correlational studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Coping
  • heart failure
  • self care


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