Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

David P. McAnulty

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Cherisse Y. Flanagan

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

T. Scott Perkins


Congenital heart defects (CHD) are one of the most prevalent genetic abnormalities, impacting the lives of millions of children, teens, and young adults. Conservative diagnoses estimate that 2.4 million children and adults are living with CHD in the United States (Gilboa et al., 2016). CHD requires consistent cardiac support with multiple surgeries and hospitalizations expected throughout the lifetime, which significantly impacts psychological health. Specifically, patients present with a host of extra-cardiac conditions that impact their quality of life. With advancements in medical technology, mortality rates continue to improve for this population; however, individuals face a number of consequences that impact their overall quality of life. The negative symptoms of single ventricle congenital heart disease present a detrimental impact on psychosocial processes including healthcare management, comorbidity, and adaptive coping strategies. Resilience is the elasticity or tendency to rebound in the face of hardship (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). It is a dynamic, malleable process which may preserve well-being and sustain functioning; however, limited research has investigated the nuances which enhance resilience. The present study assessed the buffering effects of resilience on illness perceptions and health-promoting behaviors in congenital heart disease patients. Participants were asked to complete five assessment measures designed to assess resilience, illness perceptions, health behaviors, and affective distress. Data were analyzed with multiple and hierarchical regression analyses. Resilience was found to be positively correlated with illness perceptions, with spirituality as a positive predictor for treatment control. Implications of the present study and recommendations for further research are also considered.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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