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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 376020, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/376020
Research Article

Caring for Others, but Not Themselves: Implications for Health Care Interventions in Women with Cardiovascular Disease

1Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Technology Sydney and Curtin University, P.O. Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
2Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
3Area Cardiac Rehabilitation and Chronic Care Programs, Sydney West Area Health Service, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
4Clinical Support Division, Western Sydney Local Health District, LMB 7118, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
5Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Technology Sydney, P.O. Box 222, Lindfield NSW 2070, Australia

Received 31 December 2010; Accepted 19 March 2011

Academic Editor: Ip Wan Yim

Copyright © 2011 Michelle DiGiacomo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cardiovascular disease is the largest killer of women internationally and women often suffer inferior outcomes following an acute cardiac event as compared to men. A gendered approach to investigating cardiovascular disease in women incorporates the unique social, cultural, and economic circumstances that being a woman brings to the health encounter. The multiple roles enacted by many women may be important factors in this health discrepancy. In order to more fully understand the impact of the roles of women on health, a questionnaire was administered to participants of the Heart Awareness for Women group cardiac rehabilitation program which assessed women's role perceptions followed by discussions. We found that caregiving can be both positive and negative. It gives a sense of purpose, meaning, and community connection as well as burden and conflict. Emphasis must be placed on promoting strategies in women to achieve a balance between caregiving responsibilities and prioritisation of cardiovascular health.