Objectives: Myocardial infarction (MI) may be experienced as a traumatic event causing acute stress disorder (ASD). This mental disorder has an impact on the daily life of patients and is associated with the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Trait resilience has been shown to be a protective factor for post-traumatic stress disorder, but its association with ASD in patients with MI is elusive and was examined in this study.
Methods: We investigated 71 consecutive patients with acute MI within 48 h of having stable haemodynamic conditions established and for 3 months thereafter. All patients completed the Acute Stress Disorder Scale and the Resilience Scale to self-rate the severity of ASD symptoms and trait resilience, respectively.
Results: Hierarchical regression analysis showed that greater resilience was associated with lower symptoms of ASD independent of covariates (b=−0.22, p<0.05). Post hoc analysis revealed resilience level to be inversely associated with the ASD symptom clusters of re-experiencing (b=−0.05, p<0.05) and arousal (b=−0.09, p<0.05), but not with dissociation and avoidance.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that patients with acute MI with higher trait resilience experience relatively fewer symptoms of ASD during MI. Resilience was particularly associated with re-experiencing and arousal symptoms. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of resilience as a potentially important correlate of ASD in the context of traumatic situations such as acute MI. These results emphasise the importance of identifying patients with low resilience in medical settings and to offer them adequate support.