Facing new realities: Experiences of Middle Eastern women during and following mycocardial infarction

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Georgie Labadie - Committee Chair


The purpose of the research was to investigate the experience of Middle Eastern women living in the United States (U.S.) who had experienced cardiac symptoms that had led to a myocardial infarction (MI) and its aftermath. This investigation focused on the gap in knowledge regarding how Middle Eastern women living in the U.S. experienced cardiac symptoms that led to an MI and how they managed their daily lives after an MI. Research had been conducted in the U.S. on White, Black, and Hispanic women in relation to their experiences with myocardial infarction. No studies were found that described the unique experience of Middle Eastern women during and following MI. This absence of empirical investigations among this population was true of quantitative and qualitative research and studies that utilized grounded theory method.A voluntary sample of twenty Middle Eastern women was interviewed by the researcher. This sample was selected from cardiac outpatients in metropolitan Chicago. A semi-structured questionnaire provided a guide for probing and discussing the experience of MI. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method outlined by Glaser and Strauss (1967). The resulting taxonomy included the core category, Facing New Realities, and the categories of Getting Body Messages, Seeking Help, Getting Help, Hearing the News, Learning New Things, and Adapting to a Changed Lifestyle. The unique findings from this study suggested that Middle Eastern women did not understand that they were having cardiac symptoms prior to the MI and that their experiences throughout the process unfolded within the context of family relationships. The overall results of this study suggested that these Middle Eastern women, not markedly different from other women throughout, exhibited physical and emotional stamina in their responses to heart attack and that they faced their fears as they persevered.


Women's Studies; Health Sciences, Nursing; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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