Thesis Title

Congestive Heart Failure, Social Support and Depression in Women

Date of Graduation

Fall 2003


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Susan Hinck


The purpose of this correlational study was to examine the relationships between social support, depression, and congestive heart failure at four levels of the New York Heart Association scale in women. This study asked, what is the relationship between social support and depression at each of the four levels of the New York Heart Association function scale? A sample of 25 women was recruited from four county influenza immunization clinics, and one rural health clinic. Inclusion criteria for participants were diagnosis of congestive health failure from any cause, mental capacity to complete a questionnaire, and ability to speak English. Participants were designated as having congestive heart failure according to patient report of existing physician diagnosis of CHF. Participants were given questionnaires to assess social support systems (ISEL-SF), depression (CES-D). The investigator determined NYHA status. The ISEL-SF was determined unreliable by Cronbach's alpha (a = .4588). Thus, the independent variable of social support could not be evaluated nor correlated with depression and NYHA variables. The CES-D instrument was reliable (a = .7414) and yielded a total of 7 persons designated as depressed. The highest NYHA classification among depressed participants was category III at 71.4%. However, the hypothesis that higher levels of CHF would have yielded higher levels of depression was not significant (r (5) = -.331 p>.05). Low sample size and variance were thought to be possible causes of the Pearson insignificant value. Data analysis included regression analysis and descriptive statists. This study will be important to health care in determining appropriate instruments to be used in older populations of women.

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