Adults with cardiovascular disease who help others: a prospective study of health outcomes.

TitleAdults with cardiovascular disease who help others: a prospective study of health outcomes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHeisler, MM, Choi, H, Piette, JD, Rosland, AMarie, Langa, KM, Brown, S
JournalJ Behav Med
Date Published2013 Apr
ISSN Number1573-3521
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Aged, Cardiovascular Diseases, depression, Female, Health Status, Helping Behavior, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Time Factors

Little is known about the health impact of helping behaviors among individuals with high-risk chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). Using a nationally representative, longitudinal survey, we examined the subsequent health of adults with CVD (n = 4,491) who spent time providing non-paid assistance to family and friends outside of their households compared with those who had provided no assistance. After both adjusting for baseline characteristics and using propensity score matching methods, spending up to 200 h over the prior 12 months helping others was associated with lower odds of experiencing a new CVD event or dying in the subsequent 2 years. Providing up to 100 h of assistance was associated with reporting fewer depressive symptoms. This threshold effect raises the question of whether assistance beyond a certain number of hours may impose a burden that mitigates health benefits from helping others. Health care providers could play an important role exploring ways that patients with CVD can provide beneficial levels of assistance to others in their own social networks or communities, thereby possibly also improving their own health.


Copyright - Springer Science Business Media New York 2013 Last updated - 2013-04-30 DOI - 2922261571; 76454332; 69709; BVMD; 22481214; SPVLBVMD108653629414

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Psychology/Cardiovascular disease/Chronic conditions/caregivers/Depressive Symptoms/health care policy

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Behav Med
Citation Key7806
PubMed ID22481214
PubMed Central IDPMC3929385
Grant ListP30 DK092926 / DK / NIDDK NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
UL1 RR024986 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States