Correlates of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Stroke Survivors

Goldfinger, Judith Z.; Edmondson, Donald E.; Kronish, Ian M.; Fei, Kezhen; Balakrishnan, Revathi; Tuhrim, Stanley; Horowitz, Carol R.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after life-threatening events, including illness, but correlates of PTSD after stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) have not been well described.

We measured the prevalence of stroke-induced PTSD with the PTSD Checklist Specific for stroke (PCL-S) in adults who had a stroke or TIA within 5 years. A PCL-S score of 50 or more indicated likely PTSD. We tested for potential predictors of stroke-associated PTSD, including demographics, stroke history, disability, medical comorbidities, depression, and emotional support and then examined the association between poststroke PTSD and measures of physical and mental health.

Of 535 participants, 95 (18%) had a PCL-S score of 50 or more; the mean score was 35.4 ± 13.7 (range 17-80 of 85). In logistic regression analysis, low income (odds ratio [OR] 1.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-3.61), recurrent stroke or TIA (OR 1.86, 1.10-3.16), more disability (OR 1.79, 1.43-2.23), and increased comorbidities (OR 1.90, 1.05-3.45) were independently associated with PTSD. Older age (OR .93, .90-.95), marriage or partnership (OR .52, .28-.98), and having emotional support (OR .25, .11-.54) were protective against developing PTSD. Participants with likely PTSD had worse physical and mental health.

In this racially and ethnically diverse cohort of stroke and TIA survivors, stroke-induced PTSD was associated with younger age, recurrent strokes, greater disability, and comorbidities. PTSD was associated with a substantially increased physical, mental, and quality of life burden in this already vulnerable population. Having social support was protective, suggesting a potential target for intervention.


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Also Published In

Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
Published Here
May 2, 2016