Post-stroke emotionalism (PSE): A qualitative longitudinal study exploring individuals experience with PSE

Sophie Fitzgerald, Fergus Gracey, Niall Broomfield

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Abstract

Background: Post-stroke emotionalism (PSE) is a common emotional consequence of stroke characterised by episodes of crying or laughing. There is only one published qualitative study exploring the experience of emotionalism to date.

Objectives: To explore individuals experience of PSE, describe how experience of living with PSE may change over time and develop a theoretical client-derived framework to shape future psychological interventions.

Method: A qualitative secondary analysis of pseudonymised pre-collected semi-structured interview data was completed. Participants were recruited from nine acute stroke units in Scotland. Interviews were completed at two-weeks, six-months and 12-months post-stroke.

Results: Data was analysed from 52 participants at two-weeks, 25 participants at six-months and 23 participants at 12-months. Three major themes were identified: ‘In the moment’, describing characteristics and triggers, ‘Ways of coping’, highlighted a variation of coping strategies including avoidance or acceptance and ‘Impact’, outlining the longer-term effects of PSE such as individuals’ beliefs. Analysis of changes over time highlighted increases in participants reporting of barriers to control, aspects of avoidance and wishing to hide emotional responses.

Conclusion: The results indicate specific psychological aspects of PSE which could be viable targets in psychological interventions such as increasing adaptive coping strategies and challenging negatively held beliefs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Early online date16 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Stroke
  • emotionalism
  • experience
  • longitudinal
  • qualitative analysis

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