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Depression and Anxiety Across the First Year After Ischemic Stroke: Findings from a Population-Based New Zealand ARCOS-IV Study

  • Suzanne Barker-Collo (a1), Rita Krishnamurthi (a2), Emma Witt (a3), Alice Theadom (a2), Nicola Starkey (a4), P. Alan Barber (a5), Derrick Bennett (a6), Elaine Rush (a7), Bruce Arroll (a8) and Valery Feigin (a2)...


Background: Depression and anxiety are the two most frequently studied emotional outcomes of stroke. However, few previous studies have been carried out at a population level or beyond 6 months post stroke. The aim of this study was to describe depression and anxiety across the first year following incident ischemic stroke (IS), and identify predictive factors in a population-based study.

Method: The Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) was administered at baseline (within 2 weeks of onset), and again at 1-month, 6-months and 12-months after IS in a sample (N = 365) drawn from a population-based study.

Results: Over 75% of those assessed experienced depression or anxiety symptoms below cut-offs for probable disorder across the year post stroke. Moderate to severe symptoms for anxiety were approximately twice as likely (range 4.1%–10.6%) as compared to depression (range 2.5%–5.0%) at each assessment. The greatest improvement in anxiety occurred within the first month post stroke. In contrast, the greatest reduction in depression occurred between 1- to 6-months post stroke.

Conclusions: Anxiety symptoms in the moderate to severe range were twice as common as depression, and improved over the first month post stroke, whilst depression symptoms persisted for up to 6 months, indicating a need to target these two issues at different points in the recovery process.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Suzanne Barker-Collo, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. E-mail:


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Depression and Anxiety Across the First Year After Ischemic Stroke: Findings from a Population-Based New Zealand ARCOS-IV Study

  • Suzanne Barker-Collo (a1), Rita Krishnamurthi (a2), Emma Witt (a3), Alice Theadom (a2), Nicola Starkey (a4), P. Alan Barber (a5), Derrick Bennett (a6), Elaine Rush (a7), Bruce Arroll (a8) and Valery Feigin (a2)...


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