Intra- and interpersonal effects of coping style and self-efficacy on anxiety, depression and life satisfaction in patient-partner couples after stroke

Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2023 Jun;33(5):849-870. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2022.2051564. Epub 2022 Mar 17.


Many stroke patients and partners suffer from anxiety, depression, and low life satisfaction. Psychological factors such as coping style and self-efficacy can be protective factors within individuals. The close relationship between stroke patients and partners suggests that there may be interdependence in psychological functioning. The aim of this study was to examine intra- and interpersonal effects of coping style and self-efficacy on anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction in patient-partners couples. In this prospective cohort study, pro-active coping (UPCC), general self-efficacy (GSES), anxiety (HADS-A), depression (HADS-D), and life satisfaction (1-6 scale) were assessed in 215 couples at 2 and 12 months post-stroke. Effects within couples were assessed using structural equation modelling. Several intra- and interpersonal effects of coping style and self-efficacy at 2 months post-stroke were related to emotional health at 12 months post-stroke. Most effects were intrapersonal effects. The interpersonal effects were small but showed that pro-active coping by the patient was associated with lower anxiety of the partner. Higher self-efficacy of the partner was associated with lower depression scores and higher life satisfaction of the patient. This study underscores the importance of a dyadic approach to post-stroke functioning. It supports a family-based approach for treating post-stroke emotional problems.

Keywords: Couples; Dyad; Partners; Stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Depression* / etiology
  • Depression* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Efficacy
  • Stroke* / complications
  • Stroke* / psychology

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the VSB foundation, the Dutch Heart Foundation, and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development [grant number 89000004].