A divided attention task was used with 10 left or right cerebral vascular accident (CVA) subjects who had return of functional movement in the affected extremities. The primary task was one subtest of the Jebson Hand Function Test. The secondary task was a foot press to a series of auditory cues. Four measurements were obtained for each subject at intervals of 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months after the stroke. Comparison scores on this procedure were also obtained on 5 normal subjects.
The results indicated that dividing attention in the CVA subjects significantly decreased the performance on the primary task. The performance with the affected limb improved over the 3-month time period and reached a level of performance that was not significantly different from that of the unaffected limb for either the undivided or divided attention task. Implications for occupational therapy environments and consideration of attention limitations are discussed.