Non-pharmacological interventions for post-stroke emotionalism (PSE) within inpatient stroke settings: a theory of planned behavior survey

David C. Gillespie, Amy P. Cadden, Robert M. West, Niall M. Broomfield

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Post-stroke emotionalism (PSE) is common. Trials of antidepressants for PSE suggest only modest clinical benefit and risk of side effects. There have been no trials of non-pharmacological treatments for PSE; in fact, little is known about the non-pharmacological treatments actually provided to PSE sufferers in clinical practice. Objectives: To determine the non-pharmacological interventions provided by stroke professionals, their perceived effectiveness, and the factors associated with the intention to provide them. Methods: Focus groups and published sources of information were used to construct a comprehensive list of non-pharmacological approaches for PSE. This was followed by a national (online) survey of 220 UK stroke clinicians from nursing, medicine, and the allied health professions to investigate the approaches used in clinical practice, using Theory of Planned Behavior components to determine the factors associated with intention to provide them. Results: Most respondents reported high intention to provide non-pharmacological interventions from the list that was constructed. Offering reassurance and talking to patients about goals were the commonest interventions, and distraction and tensing facial muscles least common. Respondents who perceived others to hold them professionally responsible for carrying out non-pharmacological approaches were more likely to use them, as were respondents who held more positive attitudes. Conclusions: Our survey data reveal that stroke clinicians report regular use of non-pharmacological interventions for PSE. There is a pressing need for well-conducted clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of these approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Early online date28 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • Emotionalism
  • behavior
  • interventions
  • questionnaire
  • rehabilitation
  • stroke
  • survey

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