Lived experiences of chronic cognitive and mood symptoms among community-dwelling adults following stroke: a mixed-methods analysis

Aging Ment Health. 2019 Sep;23(9):1227-1233. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2018.1481927. Epub 2018 Oct 27.


Objectives: Few studies have explored the lived experiences of chronic cognitive and mood symptoms following stroke using a racially/ethnically diverse sample. Therefore, we aimed to explore the perceptions of chronic post-stroke cognition and mood symptoms and goals among a racially/ethnically diverse sample of community-dwelling adults aging with stroke. Method: This qualitative study using mixed-methods analysis included semi-structured interviews regarding perceived post-stroke cognitive and mood symptoms among community-dwelling stroke survivors at least one-year post stroke. Transcripts were subjected to thematic content analysis, and differences in theme usage patterns by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and post-acute rehabilitation setting were assessed using an inferential clustering technique. Results: The majority of participants (93%) reported cognition-related themes, including language and communication, memory, thinking abilities, comprehension, visual-spatial processing, and cognitive assessments and training. Nearly half of participants mentioned mood-related themes, including depression, aggression and anger, mood fluctuations, anxiety, and psychological services and medication. Nearly half reported an unmet need for cognition or mood-related treatment. Inferential clustering analysis revealed that older participants reported a different pattern of cognitive and mood symptoms than those aged younger than 65 (p = 0.02). Older adults were more likely to describe post-stroke language/communication changes, while younger adults described post-stroke mood changes. Conclusion: Stroke survivors experienced cognitive and mood-related symptoms beyond one-year post stroke, which has implications for long-term assessment and management. Incorporation of continued symptom monitoring into existing community-based services is needed to address chronic cognitive and mood symptoms affecting the quality of life of persons with stroke.

Keywords: Cognition; psychological and behavioral symptoms; qualitative methods; quality of life/wellbeing; stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Stroke / complications*