The emotional impact of surviving a stroke has not received the same attention as physical aspects. This is particularly true regarding how stroke survivors cope during inpatient rehabilitation. This study examined the coping strategies used by stroke survivors undergoing inpatient rehabilitation and the relationships between demographic or clinical variables and coping behaviors. This case series examined 16 acute stroke survivors via standardized assessments and a medical records review completed during the first week of inpatient rehabilitation.
Stroke survivors used combinations of multiple coping strategies. All stroke survivors used a higher number and frequency of adaptive rather than maladaptive strategies. Women used a higher number of adaptive strategies. Stroke survivors with depression used maladaptive coping strategies more frequently, whereas those presenting with a greater number and severity of comorbidities used adaptive coping strategies more frequently. Stroke survivors with higher levels of coping self-efficacy used the strategies of active coping and positive reframing more frequently.
Based on these results, it is recommended direct-care providers place greater emphasis on objectifying the emotional consequences of stroke. Further research is recommended regarding understanding the relationship between coping and outcomes.