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Spouses of first-ever stroke patients: their view of the future during the first phase after stroke

Journal article
Authors Gunilla Forsberg-Wärleby
Anders Möller
Christian Blomstrand
Published in Clin Rehabil
Volume 16
Issue 5
Pages 506-14
ISSN 0269-2155 (Print)
Publication year 2002
Published at Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Institute of Clinical Neurosciences
Pages 506-14
Language en
Keywords Adaptation, Psychological, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Cerebrovascular Accident/*psychology, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, *Perception, Severity of Illness Index, Sex Factors, *Sickness Impact Profile, Spouses/*psychology, Time Factors
Subject categories Neurology, Public health medicine research areas, Occupational Therapy, Applied Psychology, Family research, Disability research


BACKGROUND: A partner's stroke can be perceived as a critical event by a spouse. Previous studies have focused primarily on the impact of stroke on spouses' psychosocial well-being over the long term. However, the experience of spouses in the first phase after stroke is not well known. AIM: To investigate spouses' perception of their future daily life after stroke and the association between this perception and the objective characteristics of the stroke. METHOD: Eighty-three consecutively enrolled spouses of first-ever stroke patients < 75 years admitted to Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden participated. The mean age of the spouses was 57 years. Sixty-two of the spouses were women and 21 men. Interviews about their experiences 10 days after onset were generally made at the hospital. The interviews were analysed, categorized and combined with statistical analyses of variables such as ages and sex of the spouses, type of lesion and presence of neurological impairments in the stroke patient. RESULTS: Four different categories of the concept 'view of the future' were developed on the basis of the interviews. Of the different characteristics of the stroke, the severity of the sensorimotor impairment seemed to have the greatest impact on the spouses' view of the future. The spouses of stroke patients with pure sensorimotor impairment were more likely to have an optimistic view of the future than when the sensorimotor impairment was combined with cognitive deficits. There was a broad distribution of the different characteristics of stroke between the four categories. CONCLUSIONS: Although the perception of future daily life varied, it was possible to categorize the spouses' cognitive image of future life according to degree of optimism. While the severity of stroke was of importance, the individual perception of the disease, impact on future activities and the spouses' own coping capacity was of great significance for the perception of future daily life.

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