Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Stroke survivor cognitive decline and psychological wellbeing of family caregivers five years post-stroke: a cross-sectional analysis

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Version 2 2022-01-17, 16:30
Version 1 2019-11-22, 15:34
journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-17, 16:30 authored by Daniela Rohde, Eva Gaynor, Margaret Large, Orla Conway, Kathleen BennettKathleen Bennett, David WilliamsDavid Williams, Elizabeth Callaly, Eamon Dolan, Anne HickeyAnne Hickey

Background: Family members frequently provide long-term care for stroke survivors, which can lead to psychological strain, particularly in the presence of cognitive decline.

Objectives: To profile anxious and depressive symptoms of family caregivers at 5 years post-stroke, and to explore associations with stroke survivor cognitive decline.

Methods: As part of a 5-year follow-up of the Action on Secondary Prevention Interventions and Rehabilitation in Stroke (ASPIRE-S) cohort of stroke survivors, family members completed a self-report questionnaire. Symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed using the HADS-A and CES-D. Cognitive decline in stroke survivors was assessed from the caregiver’s perspective using the IQCODE, with cognitive performance assessed by the MoCA. Data were analyzed using logistic regression models.

Results: 78 family members participated; 25.5% exhibited depressive symptoms, 19.4% had symptoms of anxiety. Eleven stroke survivors (16.7%) had evidence of cognitive decline according to both the IQCODE and MoCA. Family members of stroke survivors with cognitive decline were significantly more likely to report symptoms of depression [age-adjusted OR (95% CI): 5.94 (1.14, 30.89)] or anxiety [age-adjusted OR (95% CI): 5.64 (1.24, 25.54)] than family members of stroke survivors without cognitive decline.

Conclusions: One-fifth of family caregivers exhibited symptoms of anxiety and one-quarter symptoms of depression at 5 years post-stroke. Stroke survivor cognitive decline was significantly associated with both depressive and anxious symptoms of family caregivers. Family members play a key role in the care and rehabilitation of stroke patients; enhancing their psychological wellbeing and identifying unmet needs are essential to improving outcomes for stroke survivors and families.


Health Research Board [SPHeRE2013/1, 1404/7400, and RL-15-1579]. Irish Heart Foundation [1296829].



“This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Topics in Stroke Rehabilitationon. 2019, available online:”

Published Citation

Rohde D, Gaynor E, Large M, Conway O, Bennett K, Williams DJ, Callaly E, Dolan E, Hickey A. Stroke survivor cognitive decline and psychological wellbeing of family caregivers five years post-stroke: a cross-sectional analysis. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation. 2019;26:1-7

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  • Clinical Research Centre
  • Data Science Centre
  • Health Psychology
  • Medicine