Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sechrist, Karen R.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Nursing




The purpose of this study was to determine if compliance with cardiovascular risk-reducing activities could be increased following participation in a behavioral/educational cardiac rehabilitation program when compared to the traditional, supervised exercise response program. The research hypotheses stated that behavioral and education strategies employed in a phase II program would significantly improve compliance with smoking cessation, weight reduction and maintenance of exercise. A prospective, descriptive design with nonequivalent comparison groups was used to evaluate the differences in the behaviors of the participants exposed to the two intervention methods. Data were collected at entry to the program, 3 months and again 6 months after entry. Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance provided the framework for compliance behavior. The theory states that when elements in knowledge and the environment are not consistent with one another a person will be motivated to eliminate the inconsistency. Sources of cognitive dissonance were determined to be the acute cardiac event and also the new knowledge relating to risk factor reduction. The focus of dissonance reduction was education about the disease process and risk factor reduction. In addition, behavioral strategies were used to encourage compliance with the activities. One-tailed t-tests revealed a significant difference in weight loss from entry to 3 months in the behavioral/educational group. Chi-square analysis showed a significant difference between group affiliation with pulse monitoring and exercising 20 minutes per exercise session after 6 months. These exercise patterns were correlated positively with affiliation in the behavioral/educational group. The findings of the study were inconclusive. The behavioral/ educational group did have improved compliance with cardiac rehabilitation activities in two areas. Further research conducted in this area might provide important insight into the problem of compliance.


Bibliography: pages 81-90.


viii, 101 pages




Northern Illinois University

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