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Premorbid personality traits are associated with post-stroke behavioral and psychological symptoms: a three-month follow-up study in Perth, Western Australia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2009

Kathryn R. Greenop*
Affiliation:
WA Centre for Health and Ageing, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Osvaldo P. Almeida
Affiliation:
WA Centre for Health and Ageing, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia Department of Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia
Graeme J. Hankey
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia
Frank van Bockxmeer
Affiliation:
School of Surgery and Pathology, University of Western Australia, Perth and Cardiovascular Genetics Laboratory, Division of Laboratory Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia
Nicola T. Lautenschlager
Affiliation:
WA Centre for Health and Ageing, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Kathryn Greenop, WA Centre for Health and Ageing, M573, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA, 6009, Australia. Phone: +61-8-9224 2392; Fax +61-8-9224 8005. Email: kathryn.greenop@uwa.edu.au.

Abstract

Background: Previous research has found an association between post-stroke depressive symptoms and premorbid personality. This study sought to investigate further the relationship between premorbid personality and a number of common post-stroke behavioral and psychological symptoms in a three-month follow-up study.

Methods: This prospective study was conducted between May 2003 and January 2005 in a Perth metropolitan teaching hospital. The pre-stroke personality of stroke survivors was assessed by interviewing a close family member (informant) within four weeks of the index stroke using the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised. Three months after the stroke, patients were followed up and assessed with the Cambridge Cognitive examination and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and their informants completed the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-carer distress version (NPI) and instrumental activities of daily living scale.

Results: Depressive symptoms were the most commonly reported post-stroke symptom (45.1%). Spearman's correlations showed that high neuroticism was positively correlated with NPI total scores (ρ = 0.37, p = 0.007), NPI total distress scores (ρ = 0.47, p = 0.001), and specifically with agitation and irritability NPI composite scores. Agreeableness was inversely correlated with agitation (ρ = −0.40, p = 0.004) and irritability (ρ = −0.37, p = 0.007) composite scores.

Conclusions: Premorbid personality traits of high neuroticism and low agreeableness are associated with the presence of post-stroke agitation, irritability, and carer distress. This knowledge may contribute to the development of strategies designed to identify patients and families who require more intense supervision and support during post-stroke rehabilitation.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2009

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