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Disabil Rehabil. 2008;30(24):1858-66. doi: 10.1080/09638280701708736.

Anxiety and depression in the first six months after stroke. A longitudinal multicentre study.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.



To document the prevalence, severity and time course of anxiety and depression in stroke rehabilitation patients in four European countries.


At two, four and six months post-stroke, the prevalence and severity of anxiety and depression were determined in 532 consecutively recruited patients, using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Time course of prevalence and severity was examined, using Cochran-Q and Friedman-tests, respectively. We identified whether the numbers of anxious/depressed patients at each time point comprised the same individuals.


Prevalence of anxiety ranged between 22% and 25%; depression between 24% and 30%. Median severity ranged between 4 and 5. No significant differences between centres occurred (p > 0.05). Prevalence of both disorders was not significantly different over time. Severity of anxiety decreased between four and six months; severity of depression remained stable. About 40% of the patients with initial anxiety remained anxious at six months. Some 11% and 7% of those initially not anxious became anxious at four or six months after stroke, respectively. Depression showed a similar pattern.


Despite differences in patient profiles and intensity of rehabilitation, no significant differences occurred between centres in prevalence and severity of both disorders. Anxiety was almost as common as depression and additional patients became anxious/depressed at each time point.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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