Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing

First Advisor

Louette R. Lutjens

Second Advisor

Kay Setter Kline

Third Advisor

Theresa Bacon-Baguley


The purpose of this study was to describe the adaptation of male and female spouses after their partners' open heart surgery using the theory of person as an adaptive system. A descriptive correlational design was used to examine adaptation of male and female spouses to their partners' open heart surgery (criterion variable); and partners' health prior to surgery, length of time partner diagnosed with heart disease, number of years married, and general state of marital relationship prior to surgery as perceived by the spouse were predictor variables. The sample consisted of 20 male and 25 female spouses, 31 to 88 years of age. Data were analyzed using multiple regression analysis. The state of the marital relationship explained 28% of the variation in spouse adaptation (p =.0018). Other findings identified no significant difference between genders in scores for psychosocial adaptation. The domains of psychosocial adaptation which displayed the highest percentages of ineffective adaptation were psychological distress (82.1%) and social environment (68.8%), behaviors in the self-concept and interdependence modes, respectfully. Qualitative data revealed the behavioral modes demonstrating the greatest problems for male and female spouses were interdependence (M = 35%; F = 56%) and role function (M = 20%; F = 12%).


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