Effectiveness of psychological interventions in chronic stage of stroke: a systematic review

Top Stroke Rehabil. 2012 Nov-Dec;19(6):536-44. doi: 10.1310/tsr1906-536.


Objective: To examine the effectiveness of interventions for psychological issues faced by individuals post stroke when initiated in the chronic stage of stroke.

Method: MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Scopus databases were searched from 1980 to July 2012. A study was included if (1) the study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT); (2) at least 50% of individuals in the study were entered into the study at over 6 months post stroke; (3) the study examined the effect of an intervention on psychological functioning; and (4) study participants were ≥ 18 years of age. Similar interventions were grouped and results summarized. Data on the study design, participant characteristics, interventions, outcomes, and adverse events were extracted from each of the selected studies.

Results: Nine RCTs met inclusion criteria. All 9 studies examined effectiveness on mood and 3 on adjustment. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation had the strongest evidence of effectiveness in improving mood followed by pharmacotherapy; whereas exercise appeared to be effective in improving adjustment and coping among individuals in the chronic stage of stroke.

Conclusion: Overall, interventions provided in the chronic stage of stroke appear to be effective in improving mood and adjustment up to 3 months post intervention. The use of multidisciplinary interventions and acceptance models may be important in the overall adjustment process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Affective Disorders, Psychotic / etiology*
  • Affective Disorders, Psychotic / therapy*
  • Aged
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / psychology