Objectives. To explore the similarities and differences between patients and health professionals' perspectives on the sociocultural influences on secondary cardiac behaviour, and the implications in policy and practice.
Methods. Qualitative study using grounded theory research. We used a linked, phased study to ascertain the factors which helped shape patients' views about their heart problems and how these influence secondary cardiac behaviour. We also explored health professionals' perspectives on patients' views and interpretations. A total of 70 participants, 56 patients and 14 health professionals, took part in individual and group interviews and focus groups.
Results. Patients seemed in control of their heart condition and communicated a sense of satisfaction in how they manage it. To interpret the sociocultural influences on secondary cardiac behaviour, patients used theirs and community knowledge of heart disease, personal constructions of cardiac illness, together with their individual belief systems, particularly relating to lay health beliefs. Individual interpretations were unique and contextual, but there were many common views which did not differ between patients.
Conclusions. Patients and health professionals reported similar areas of influence but there were important differences in emphasis. Providers described the ambivalence between being positive about the future health of patients to boost their recovery process, and recognition that this positive outlook could be construed as a 'cure'.