Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Psychological Science

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Dr. Diann Gaalema

Second Advisor

Dr. William Falls


cardiac rehabilitation, fitness, socioeconomic status


The importance of cardiac rehabilitation after many coronary events such as a myocardial infarction and bypass surgery, as well as heart failure more recently is well established in the medical community. Cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to decrease the rate of the atherosclerotic process and reduce rates of subsequent coronary events (Haskell et al, 1994). It has additionally been shown that those who attend cardiac rehabilitation (CR) have reduced rates of mortality from both cardiovascular-specific as well as cardiovascular-nonspecific causes and rehospitalization (Ades, 2001; Heran et al, 2011). One variable consistently correlated with poor attendance is lower-socioeconomic status (lower-SES). Even when referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program, individuals with a lower socioeconomic status are less likely to attend cardiac rehabilitation than higher-SES individuals (Cooper et al, 2002; Valencia et al, 2011). The purpose of this research was to characterize lower-SES population in the CR program at University of Vermont Medical Center. By examining the lower-SES population on clinical characteristics, attendance, and clinical improvement within the program we can determine if this population has special needs and if the program needs to be tailored to help the lower-SES population both to stay in CR and to get the most out of the program. Notable results included that lower-SES patients tend to be younger than higher-SES patients at intake, and that they tend to have worse fitness and depression scores and be more likely to smoke, but have fewer comorbidities. The lower-SES population also had a higher dropout rate in the first eleven sessions. Within completers, the lower-SES and higher-SES populations both tended to make significant gains in fitness, quality of life, depression, strength, and body composition.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.