Illness perceptions of stroke survivors: Predictors and changes over time – A 1 year follow-up study

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Objective: To describe the illness perceptions (IP) of stroke patients in the first year post stroke; to identify patient clusters with comparable IP trajectories and determine their associations with health. Methods: This prospective study included consecutive stroke patients after medical rehabilitation. Three and 12 months post stroke they completed the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (B-IPQ) and questionnaires on physical and mental health. All eight IP and their changes over time were described. Clusters of patients with comparable IP trajectories were constructed by k-means clustering, with subsequent comparison of patient characteristics. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the association between IP clusters and 12-month mental health. Results: Hundred-and-eighty-four patients were included (men n = 107 [58.2%]; mean age 61.1 [SD 12.7] years). At 3 months, the scores of the IP coherence (mean 3.0, SD 2.3) and treatment control (mean 3.2, SD 2.5) were lowest (best), and consequences (mean 6.1, SD 2.8) and anticipated timeline (mean 6.0, SD 2.7) were highest (worst). At 12 months, the timeline and treatment control scores had significantly worsened. Three clusters of the trajectories of IP were identified, and designated as ‘favourable’, ‘average’, and ‘unfavourable’. The unfavourable cluster was significantly associated with worse physical and mental health at 3 months (unadjusted) and depressive symptoms at 12 months. Conclusion: Stroke patients' IP partly changed between 3 and 12 months post stroke. Patients with an unfavourable IP trajectory had a higher chance of depressive symptoms at 12 months. Illness perceptions could be considered as an additional target of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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