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Incongruence between stroke survivor and spouse perceptions of survivor functioning and effects on spouse mental health: a mixed-methods pilot study.

Research paper by Michael J MJ McCarthy, Karen S KS Lyons

Indexed on: 17 May '14Published on: 17 May '14Published in: Aging & mental health



Abstract

This pilot study investigated stroke survivors' and caregiving spouses' individual perspectives on survivor cognitive and physical functioning and the extent to which incongruence between partners' perceptions affects spouse depressive symptoms and overall mental health.Mixed-methods, with quantitative survey data from 35 couples and qualitative interview data from a subsample of 13 couples being collected and analyzed using paired t-tests, multiple regression with survivor-spouse discrepancy scores as predictors of spouse depressive symptoms, and interpretive-description techniques.Quantitative data indicated that spouses rated survivor cognitive functioning as significantly worse than survivors rated their own and that survivor-spouse discrepancy scores for physical functioning were significantly associated with spouse depressive symptoms. Qualitative data enhanced understanding about the nuances of partner incongruence and the ramifications of partner incongruence for spouse mental health.Partner incongruence has an impact on spouse depressive symptoms and overall mental health. Interventions targeted at survivor-spouse dyads and focused on improving communication between partners about survivor abilities may be effective for improving the mental health of spousal caregivers.