Development of a Novel Positive Psychology-Based Intervention for Couples Post-Stroke

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Objective: Stroke provides challenges for survivors and partner caregivers. Stroke survivors and caregivers are interconnected in their emotional health, including depression, a common stroke sequelae. The purpose of this study was to develop and test the feasibility of a dyadic positive psychology-based intervention (PPI) for couples coping poststroke. Design: Community-dwelling couples consisted of 1 partner who had a stroke ≥6 months ago and a cohabiting partner caregiver. One or both partner(s) had to report depressive symptoms. The PPI consisted of 1 brief face-to-face training session and an 8-week self-administered intervention in which participants were instructed to engage in at least 2 activities alone and 2 together each week. Two dyads were randomly assigned to a waitlist control to test feasibility of this process. Baseline, postintervention, and 3-month follow-up assessments and post-program feedback were obtained. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze sample characteristics, recruitment and retention rates, adherence, key pre- and postintervention outcomes, and satisfaction with the intervention. Results: Eleven of 20 couples responding to recruitment letters were enrolled in the study. Ten of 11 dyads completed the program. All participants engaged in activities for at least 6 of 8 weeks. Feedback data indicated participant satisfaction with the intervention, and key outcome measures demonstrated adequate variability. Conclusions: The self-administered dyadic PPI is feasible for implementation with couples poststroke. The PPI represents a first step in a novel dyadic approach in this population. Recruitment, enrollment and attrition rates, and feedback will be used to inform a larger randomized trial.

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