Date of Award

Summer 1995

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Kovach, Christine R.

Second Advisor

Wilson, Sarah A.

Third Advisor

Schank, Mary Jane


This qualitative study was designed to examine women's experiences with heart disease and their choice to either participate or not participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program. Coronary artery disease is the leading killer of American women. However the overwhelming majority of research regarding coronary artery disease has been conducted with men as subjects. A grounded theory methodology was used to gain insight into women's experiences with coronary artery disease. A semi-structured interview format was used to gather data from ten women. Data analysis was completed by using the process of constant comparative analysis. Data analysis revealed six themes that were subsequently grouped into two categories. Each category consisted of three themes. The first category was Stagnating with an illness and consisted of: (a) dwelling on health problems, (b) dwelling on personal hardships, and (c) inability to describe emotional responses. The second category was Living with an illness and consisted of: (a) return to normalcy, (b) acceptance of status, and (c) moving on. A conceptual framework was provided to help better understand the process of women choosing to participate or not participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program.



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