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Psychological adjustment and self reported coping in stroke survivors with and without emotionalism
  1. STEVEN ECCLES,
  2. ALLAN HOUSE
  1. Division of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences in Relation to Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  2. Stroke Outcome Study, Research School of Medicine, Leeds, UK
  1. Dr Allan House, Division of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences in Relation to Medicine, University of Leeds, 15 Hyde Terrace, Leeds LS2 9LT, UK.
  1. PETER KNAPP
  1. Division of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences in Relation to Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  2. Stroke Outcome Study, Research School of Medicine, Leeds, UK
  1. Dr Allan House, Division of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences in Relation to Medicine, University of Leeds, 15 Hyde Terrace, Leeds LS2 9LT, UK.

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Emotionalism after stroke is common, occurring in 10%–20% of a community sample.1 Psychological factors in its cause or maintenance have not been studied; research has tended to concentrate instead on location of the stroke lesion. We suspect that one reason for this neglect of psychological aspects of emotionalism is that most people do not make a distinction between emotionalism, and pathological crying and laughing. As a result all disorders of emotionality after stroke are stereotyped as being related to brain damage and therefore psychologically meaningless.

None the less, many patients with emotionalism describe their crying as provoked by emotionally congruent experiences, which makes the tearfulness seem understandable.1 In two previous studies1 2 we have shown that stroke patients with emotionalism have more symptoms of psychological disorder than do patients without emotionalism. In the present study, we explored further the psychological characteristics of stroke patients with emotionalism. Our aim was to determine whether they differed from patients without emotionalism in their psychological reactions to stroke, or in the coping strategies they reported.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is also characterised by recurrent episodes of intrusive and uncontrollable emotion, and we were therefore interested in whether patients with emotionalism also experienced the intrusive thoughts typical of post-traumatic stress disorder. …

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