The effects of stroke disability on spousal caregivers

Lee X. Blonder, Shelby L. Langer, L. Creed Pettigrew, Thomas F. Garrity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the effects of unilateral stroke patients' neurobehavioral characteristics on spousal psychosocial function. Participants: The sample consisted of twenty unilateral stroke patients and their spousal caregivers. Methods: Patient assessments included mood, affect perception, sensorimotor and cognitive function, marital satisfaction, and activities of daily living. Spousal assessments included mood, marital satisfaction, and perceived stress. Results: To avoid the risk of committing a type I error, the alpha-level of 0.05 was corrected for multiple comparisons involving the three outcome measures, resulting in an adjusted alpha of 0.017 (0.05/3). Using this criterion, the negative correlation between patient depression and spousal marital satisfaction was statistically significant (rs = -0.585, p=0.007). There was also a trend for hemispheric side of stroke to correlate with spousal stress (rs = 0.498, p=0.025), such that strokes in the left hemisphere were associated with greater stress, whereas strokes in the right hemisphere were associated with less stress. Conclusion: These results show that patient depression in particular constitutes a risk factor for marital dissatisfaction in the first few months following stroke. Given that spousal partners provide a large portion of informal support to stroke patients, successful treatment of patient depression may have benefits at the level of the individual, family, and community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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