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01.03.2016 | original article | Ausgabe 5-6/2016 Open Access

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 5-6/2016

Supporting cardiac patient physical activity: a brief health psychological intervention

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 5-6/2016
Mag. Marion Platter, Markus Hofer, Cornelia Hölzl, Alexandra Huber, Daniela Renn, Dave Webb, Stefan Höfer



One of the most important risk factors for coronary artery disease is physical inactivity. Health psychological research demonstrates the importance of planning for behaviour change success. Consequently, a health action process approach (HAPA) model-based design to support the uptake of physical activity was initiated for the first time in an acute cardiac ward.


For impact evaluation, a control group (CG) and an intervention group (IG) of coronary artery disease patients were compared in a controlled longitudinal study. Baseline assessment included socio-demographic variables, intentions regarding physical activity, and actual physical activity prior to the coronary artery disease event. Follow-up data were collected 2 and 6 months after discharge.


In total, 193 patients participated in this controlled longitudinal study (63 ± 9 years; CG: N = 78; IG: N = 115). The IG reported a higher increase in physical activity (p < 0.05), intentions, and coping planning (p < 0.05), and also in action planning and control (p < 0.01) 2 months after discharge. Both CG and IG increased their physical activity 6 months after discharge to the point of no significant difference (p = 0.664).


A HAPA model-based health psychological intervention on an acute cardiac ward is able to increase patients’ physical activity over the short term. However, integration of follow-up interventions (preferable in cardiac rehabilitation settings) would be necessary to support sustained physical activity.

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