Body listening in the link between symptoms and self-care management in cardiovascular disease: A cross-sectional correlational descriptive study

Author: Christopher S Lee1, Sang Hui Chu2, Julie Dunne3, Elise Spintzyk3, Giulia Locatelli4, Viktoriya Babicheva3, Louisa Lam5, Kelly Julio3, Summer Chen3, Corrine Y Jurgens3
1 Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA. Electronic address:
2 Yonsei University College of Nursing, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
3 Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.
4 University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy.
5 Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia.
Conference/Journal: Int J Nurs Stud
Date published: 2024 May 17
Other: Volume ID: 156 , Pages: 104809 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2024.104809. , Word Count: 377

The aim of this study was to quantify relationships among symptoms, interoceptive sensibility (i.e. the conscious level of sensing, interpreting and integrating signals from the body), and self-care management behaviors (i.e. the response to symptoms when they occur) among adults with cardiovascular disease. We hypothesized that better interoceptive sensibility would increase the positive behavior-driving effects of symptoms on self-care management.

Adult patients with cardiovascular disease who experienced recent symptoms were recruited to participate in this cross-sectional correlational descriptive study. Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System measures were used to capture dyspnea, pain interference, fatigue, sleep disturbances, nausea and vomiting, anxiety and depressive symptoms. Interoceptive sensibility was measured using the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness Version 2. The Self-Care of Chronic Illness Inventory was used to measure self-care management. Network analysis was used to identify domains of interoceptive sensibility that were most central. Linear regression with interaction terms was used to test the moderating effect of interoceptive sensibility on the relationship between symptoms and self-care management.

The age of participants in the sample (n = 387) ranged from 18 to 88 years, a slight majority (53.5 %) were female, and a majority were Caucasian (66.4 %) or African American (32.0 %). Hypertension was the most common disorder (n = 238 (61.5 %)), followed by rhythm disorders (n = 124 (32.0 %)), coronary artery disease (n = 94 (24.3 %)), heart failure (n = 89 (23.0 %)), valve disease (n = 69 (17.8 %)), stroke (n = 62 (16.0 %)) and peripheral vascular disease (n = 49 (12.7 %)). Based on network analysis, body listening (i.e. active listening to the body for insights) was the most central interoceptive domain, and distracting (i.e. tendency to ignore or distract oneself from sensations of discomfort) was the least central. Noticing (i.e. greater awareness of body sensations), distracting, and body listening were significant in moderating relationships between dyspnea, sleep disturbances and anxiety and the outcome of self-care management behaviors (all p < 0.001). Better noticing and body listening were associated with better self-care management across symptoms, whereas ignoring or distracting oneself from discomfort was associated with worse self-care management behaviors.

Among adults with cardiovascular disease, interventions designed to augment the identified interoceptive sensibility domains like body listening, and mitigate the tendency to ignore or distract oneself from discomfort may support adults with cardiovascular disease through the development of future interventions that optimize patient behaviors in response to symptoms when they occur.

PMID: 38788262 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2024.104809