Honours Research: The Role of Confidence in Cardiac Rehabilitation with Meaghan Petersen


By Theodore Giesen

Theodore Giesen is a summer co-op student in the Research Office, and an undergraduate English student here at Acadia. Over the summer, Theodore has been interviewing Acadia students and faculty about their recent research activities and writing up his findings in profiles for the website. We'll be sharing profiles like this one in the coming weeks - check back for more stories of research at Acadia.

Honours student Meaghan Petersen is involved in a thorough examination of the psychological aspects that affect the outcomes of patients during their enrolment in the cardiac rehabilitation program at the Valley Regional Hospital. The project, currently titled "The RISE of Self-Efficacy: Patient-Partner Efficacy Dynamics in a Cardiac Rehabilitation Context” will focus on self-efficacy and relation-inferred self-efficacy; how much confidence one has in themselves compared to how much confidence the patient thinks their partner has in them. Petersen’s work will contribute to a larger study being completed by Dr. Diane Holmberg (Psychology) and Dr. Chris Shields (Kinesiology) on the cardiac rehabilitation program. She learned about the study in her second year at Acadia and took the opportunity to get involved with it for her Honours thesis.

Petersen will be approaching her study with a discrepancy perspective by creating three main hypotheses which look at agreement versus discrepancy in both self-efficacy and relation inferred self-efficacy. Her main question is: is it more important that one is confident in themselves (even if they feel their partner is not), or is it more important one feels their partner is confident in them (even if they don’t feel it themselves)? There is also the option that the patient is confident in themselves and believes their partner is confident in them, which is theorized to yield the best results. After collecting data from patients, Petersen will use a technique called polynomial regression with response surface analysis to create intricate graphs for data analysis. From there, Petersen will be able to determine which factors could yield a better outcome for the patient.

As a Psychology Honours student, Petersen used her previous knowledge and gathered information from the literature to present her findings in a comprehensive way. Through the Honours research process, Petersen has utilized her knowledge of statistics across platforms as she uses both SPSS and Excel to analyze the data in question. Her current work relates to her broader interest in the influence of efficacy and motivation in athletes, as well as healthy living behaviours in general. She is considering applying for a Master of Occupational Therapy program.

Once the study has been completed, Petersen’s plan is to consider publication in order to contribute to the literature on the topic of cardiac rehabilitation. Along with her Honours presentation in the Psychology Department, Petersen hopes to present her findings at a larger conference. Petersen may also be dedicating time to help complete Dr. Holmberg and Dr. Shield’s on-going project to do with the cardiac rehabilitation program. She is able to work effectively with both faculty members and recommends any Honours student to find a supervisor who will suit them and their interests. Once completed Petersen’s thesis will be available online or in the Acadia University library.


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