TEARS: a longitudinal investigation of the prevalence, psychological associations and trajectory of poststroke emotionalism

Niall McIntyre Broomfield, Robert West, Mark Barber, Terence J. Quinn, David C. Gillespie, Matthew Walters, Allan House

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Abstract

Objective: There are few longitudinal studies of poststroke emotionalism (PSE) and our understanding of the psychological associations of PSE is limited, constraining assessment of existing interventions and the development of new therapies. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and course of PSE over the first year poststroke, and its psychological associations.

Methods: Consenting stroke survivors who were physically and cognitively able to participate were assessed within 2 weeks, 6 and 12 months of stroke to determine PSE point prevalence using a diagnostic, semistructured PSE interview (Testing Emotionalism After Recent Stroke-Diagnostic Interview). At the same assessments, neuropsychological and disability status were determined using Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Abbreviated Mental Test, National Institute of Health Stroke Scale, Barthel Index and Euro-Qol.

Results: Two hundred and seventy seven stroke survivors were recruited between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2018. Diagnostic data were available at baseline for 228 of 277 cohort participants. Point prevalence for PSE was 27.2% at 2 weeks; estimated prevalence at 6 months adjusted for baseline was 19.9% and at 12 months 22.3%. PSE was associated with symptoms of anxiety and event-related distress.

Interpretation: PSE affects at least one in five stroke patients acutely following their stroke, and continues to affect one in eight longer term. PSE is associated with anxiety and event-related distress but is not simply a manifestation of mood disorder over time. Such psychological correlates may have implications for longer term social rehabilitation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Early online date28 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2022

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