Change in Positive Emotion and Recovery of Functional Status Following Stroke


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Abstract

Objectives: To investigate change in positive emotion over a 3-month follow-up period and determine whether this change is associated with recovery of functional status in persons with stroke. Design: A longitudinal study using information from the Stroke Recovery in Underserved Patients (SRUP) database. Positive emotion and functional status were assessed within 72 hours of discharge from an in-patient medical rehabilitation facility and at 3-month follow-up using established measurement instruments. Participants: The study included 840 adults 55 years old or older with a first-time stroke and admitted to one of eleven in-patient medical rehabilitation facilities in the United States. Results: The mean age was 72.9 (SD = 9.52) years, 78.6% were non-Hispanic white and 51.7% were women. The average length of stay was 20.2 (SD =10.1) days and the most prevalent type of stroke was ischemic (75.0%). Positive emotion increased for 35.6% of the sample, decreased for 29.2%, and 35.2% reported no change. Increases in positive emotion change score compared to no change (b = −3.2, SE = 1.5, p = .032) or a decline (b = −8.9, SE= 1.4, p = <.001) was significantly associated with improved functional status at the 3-month follow-up after adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical variables as well as depressive symptoms. Conclusion: Positive emotion is a dynamic process and can change over time. In persons with stroke, increases in positive emotion over a 3-month period was significantly associated with an increasing likelihood of recovery of functional status compared to no change or a decline in positive emotion. Understanding factors that influence both increases and decreases in positive emotion has implications for stroke rehabilitation programming and quality of life post-hospital discharge.

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