A review of psychosocial factors and stroke: A new public health problem

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2019 Dec;175(10):686-692. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2019.02.001. Epub 2019 May 24.


The role of psychosocial factors (PSF) in increased risk of stroke is a novel public health challenge, but unclear definitions for PSF and the multiple stroke subtypes have led to inconsistent reports. A review of this issue is therefore warranted.

Methods: Several databases were used for this narrative systematic review (Medline, Embase and Cochrane Library). Two independent reviewers evaluated articles from between 2001 and 2018 on the themes of PSF and stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA). PSF criteria were job strain, psychological interpersonal and behavioral stress, and social deprivation. Ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and TIA subtypes were also identified.

Results: Forty-five cohorts, five case-control studies and two meta-analyses were included. Despite mixed results, PSF were associated with an increased risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke in populations of all ages, and more predominantly in women.

Conclusion: This broad review shows that the presence of PSF is associated with an increased risk stroke and TIA. As such, PSF must figure in both public health policy and stroke prevention programs, similar to other established metabolic and environmental factors.

Keywords: Environmental factors; Psychosocial factors; Risk factors; Stress; Stroke; TIA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / epidemiology
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / etiology
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / psychology
  • Psychology
  • Public Health / trends
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / etiology*
  • Stroke / psychology*