The Effect of Psychosocial Factors and Functional Independence on Poststroke Depressive Symptoms: A Cross-Sectional Study

Lisa A. Babkair, Deborah Chyun, Victoria Vaughan Dickson, Mohammed A. Almekhlafi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Stroke is the second leading cause of death and a major cause of serious, long-term disability worldwide. The approximately 15 million people each year who experience stroke are at risk of developing depression. Poststroke depressive symptoms affect one third of survivors of stroke. Patients who develop poststroke depressive symptoms experience decreased functional independence, poor cognitive recovery, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality. Survivors of stroke use social support to deal with stress and defend against the adverse effects of negative stroke outcomes. Purpose This study was designed to examine the influence of perceived social support (emotional and informational, tangible, affectionate, and positive social interaction), stress level, and functional independence on depressive symptoms in survivors of stroke. Methods A cross-sectional observational study design in outpatient settings and rehabilitation centers was conducted. A convenience sample of 135 survivors of stroke completed the psychometrically valid instruments. Results Most of the sample had mild or moderate depressive symptoms (26% and 29%, respectively). The mean score for perceived social support was 77.53 (SD = 21.44) on the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey. A negative association was found between depressive symptoms and the social support total score (r = -.65, p <.01). All of the social support subcategories were negatively associated with depressive symptoms. Hierarchical multiple linear regression showed that social support, stress level, and literacy were associated with depressive symptoms (β = -.31, p <.001; β =.45, p <.001; and β =.16, p =.01, respectively) and partially mediated the association between depressive symptoms and functional independence. Conclusions/Implications for Practice Poststroke depressive symptoms are common among survivors of stroke. Social support may improve health by protecting these individuals from the negative outcomes of stroke and enhance their recovery. Future research is required to examine how related interventions improve social support in caregivers and reduce depressive symptoms in stroke survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E189
JournalThe journal of nursing research : JNR
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 22 2022


  • functional independence
  • poststroke depressive symptoms
  • social support
  • stress
  • survivors of stroke
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Social Support
  • Quality of Life
  • Functional Status
  • Depression/etiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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