Coronary heart disease (CHC) is the leading cause of death in industrialized societies, and numerous studies have pointed out the impact of emotional distress on CHD morbidity and mortality (e.g., Denollet, 1993, 1997). The study aimed to investigate the inter-relations between several constructs relevant to predicting distress and positive mood in cardiac patients. Participants (N = 67), all diagnosed with CHD and scheduled for surgery in the following days, completed measures related to distress and positive mood, trait optimism, and response expectancies and response hopes for distress and positive mood. Results showed that individuals distinguish between expectancies and hopes, both constructs being related to distress and positive mood. Surprisingly though, the relations between response expectancies/response hopes and mood appear to be mediated by trait optimism, which indicates that response expectancies and hopes for distress and positive mood might be used as coping mechanisms in dealing with stressful situations.
KEYWORDS: coronary heart disease, distress, positive emotions, trait optimism, response expectancy, response hope