J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 77:1208-1218 doi:10.1136/jnnp.2005.085670
  • Review

Defining and quantifying coping strategies after stroke: a review

  1. C Donnellan1,
  2. D Hevey2,
  3. A Hickey3,
  4. D O’Neill1
  1. 1Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin
  3. 3Department of Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to:
 C Donnellan
 Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin 24, Ireland;cdonnel{at}
  • Received 6 December 2005
  • Accepted 13 May 2006
  • Revised 10 May 2006


The coping strategies that people use after a stroke may influence recovery. Coping measures are generally used to assess the mediating behaviour between a stressor (ie, disease or condition) and the physical or psychological outcome of an individual. This review evaluates measures that quantified coping strategies in studies on psychological adaptation to stroke. The main aspects of the coping measures reviewed were (a) conceptual basis; (b) coping domains assessed; (c) coping strategies used after a stroke; and (d) psychometric properties of coping measures used in studies assessing patients with stroke. Four databases (Medline, CINAHL, PsychINFO and Cochrane Systematic Reviews) were searched to identify studies that used a coping measure in stroke. 14 studies assessed coping strategies in patients after stroke. Ten different coping measures were used, and the studies reviewed had many limitations. Few studies provided definitions of “coping” and the psychometric properties of the coping measures were under-reported. The need for future studies to more clearly define the coping process and to present data on the reliability and validity of the measures used is emphasised.


  • Competing interests: None declared.

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