Prevalence and predictors of anxiety in an African sample of recent stroke survivors

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Stroke is now the leading cause of disease and disability in sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA).1 As stroke survivor populations are diverse, and interaction between illness and contextual factors is important in determining the clinical course of diseases,2 the characteristics of stroke patients can be expected to differ between SSA and more developed parts of the world.
Along with cognitive impairment, both anxiety and depression are the foremost complications prioritized by stroke survivors and carers.3 Anxiety and depression have been linked to poorer clinical outcomes and quality of life after stroke because they adversely influence compliance with recommended post‐stroke therapies.4 Yet, studies on emotional disturbances after stroke have mostly focused on depression.
Rates of anxiety reported in stroke survivors are far higher than those in the general population,5 and the prevalence and severity of post‐stroke anxiety (PSA) are similar to those reported for post‐stroke depression (PSD) across the clinical course after stroke.6 Also, depression and anxiety are highly comorbid conditions in stroke survivors,7 both being the most responsive complications of stroke to pharmacological and psychosocial interventions,9 including multifaceted risk factors optimization strategies.10
Studies identifying factors associated with anxiety among stroke survivors in SSA may provide valuable information that will stimulate the development and use of locally relevant interventions to mitigate emotional sequelaes of stroke. In this study, we assessed the characteristics of anxiety and anxiety‐depression comorbidity in a sample of recent (<1 month) stroke survivors in SSA.

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