Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sandra Thomas

Committee Members

Ralph Brockett, Josephine Wade, Susan Speraw


The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of midlife women who have experienced a myocardial infarction and returned home to recover. A phenomenological research method based on the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty was used for the study. The researcher interviewed 8 women ranging in age from 45 to 65. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the approach of Pollio and Thomas. Most of the transcribed interviews were read and discussed in the Phenomenology Research group. A thematic structure was identified from the shared themes of the women participants. For the women in this study the experience of the myocardial infarction and the recovery must be understood within the existential grounds of body and others. Four themes were common among the women survivors including: (1) Interference, (2) Freedom/Unfreedom, (3) Knowing/Not knowing and (4) Living in fear. Findings of this study suggest women need to be better educated before leaving the hospital. Returning home post myocardial infarction is a difficult time for women and they need to be better educated by health care professionals. The women in this study felt a support group for women myocardial infarction survivors was needed.

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