Depression Improvement Is Related to Social Role Functioning After Stroke

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 06/15/2012

Among stroke survivors with depression, improvement of that depression was independently associated with improved social role functioning (SRF) . This is a reminder of the importance for rehabilitation providers to screen for and treat poststroke depression.


  • The authors completed a secondary data analysis using data from a completed cohort study including people with stroke with or without depression.
  • They used multiple linear regression to identify variables independently associated with 12-week SRF.
  • Hospital and patients' homes.
  • The intervention was via phone calls.
  • People with a new stroke recruited during the inpatient stay (N=371, depressed only n=176).
  • All survived an ischemic stroke, were 18 years and older, spoke and understood English, owned a telephone, had no severe language or cognitive impairments, and were expected to live at least 6 months.
  • They measured depression with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and depression improvement was defined by a 50% decrease in PHQ-9 scores from baseline to 12 weeks or a 12-week PHQ-9 score <10.
  • SRF was measured with the social domain of the Stroke-Specific Quality of Life Scale.


  • Depression and comorbidities were found to be independently associated with 12-week SRF.
  • Importantly, depression response (or depression improvement) was the only variable to independently predict SRF in the depressed-only group.

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