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PeerJ. 2017 May 23;5:e3210. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3210. eCollection 2017.

A mixed methods study of multiple health behaviors among individuals with stroke.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, United States of America.
2
Department of Psychiatry and of Neurology, Neurological and Behavioral Outcomes Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, United States of America.
3
Neurological Institute, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Individuals with stroke often have multiple cardiovascular risk factors that necessitate promoting engagement in multiple health behaviors. However, observational studies of individuals with stroke have typically focused on promoting a single health behavior. Thus, there is a poor understanding of linkages between healthy behaviors and the circumstances in which factors, such as stroke impairments, may influence a single or multiple health behaviors.

METHODS:

We conducted a mixed methods convergent parallel study of 25 individuals with stroke to examine the relationships between stroke impairments and physical activity, sleep, and nutrition. Our goal was to gain further insight into possible strategies to promote multiple health behaviors among individuals with stroke. This study focused on physical activity, sleep, and nutrition because of their importance in achieving energy balance, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing cardiovascular risks. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected concurrently, with the former being prioritized over the latter. Qualitative data was prioritized in order to develop a conceptual model of engagement in multiple health behaviors among individuals with stroke. Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed independently and then were integrated during the inference stage to develop meta-inferences. The 25 individuals with stroke completed closed-ended questionnaires on healthy behaviors and physical function. They also participated in face-to-face focus groups and one-to-one phone interviews.

RESULTS:

We found statistically significant and moderate correlations between hand function and healthy eating habits (r = 0.45), sleep disturbances and limitations in activities of daily living (r =  - 0.55), BMI and limitations in activities of daily living (r =  - 0.49), physical activity and limitations in activities of daily living (r = 0.41), mobility impairments and BMI (r =  - 0.41), sleep disturbances and physical activity (r =  - 0.48), sleep disturbances and BMI (r = 0.48), and physical activity and BMI (r =  - 0.45). We identified five qualitative themes: (1) Impairments: reduced autonomy, (2) Environmental forces: caregivers and information, (3) Re-evaluation: priorities and attributions, (4) Resiliency: finding motivation and solutions, and (5) Negative affectivity: stress and self-consciousness. Three meta-inferences and a conceptual model described circumstances in which factors could influence single or multiple health behaviors.

DISCUSSION:

This is the first mixed methods study of individuals with stroke to elaborate on relationships between multiple health behaviors, BMI, and physical function. A conceptual model illustrates addressing sleep disturbances, activity limitations, self-image, and emotions to promote multiple health behaviors. We discuss the relevance of the meta-inferences in designing multiple behavior change interventions for individuals with stroke.

KEYWORDS:

Multiple health behaviors; Nutrition; Physical activity; Secondary prevention; Sleep; Stroke

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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