Table 1

Patients’ demographics and clinical characteristics

N (n=15) R (n=15) P (n=15) λ 2(2)
orF (2,42)
p Effect size
Sex (male) 9 (60)10 (66.7)7 (46.7)1.270.5290.168
Age (years) 58.5±3.658.9±3.156.3±
Education (years) 14±0.814.9±0.913.1±
Stroke type (ischaemic) 10 (66.7)13 (86.7)11 (73.3)3.210.660.267
Paretic limb (left) 9 (60)8 (53.3)9 (60)0.180.9130.064
Dominant side affected 3 (20)6 (40)6 (40)1.80.4070.200
Poststroke (months) 58.3±13.241.5±5.445±
Stroke site*
Cortical7 (46.7)9 (60)8 (53.3)0.070.9660.046
Subcortical3 (20)3 (20)3 (20)0.070.9660.046
Functional scores
Barthel Index90.3±3.695±1.494±
Muscle strength2.8±0.43.8±0.43.4±0.32.420.1010.103
Psychoactive drugs
Antidepressants2 (13.3)1 (6.7)2 (13.3)0.450.7990.1
Antianxiety2 (13.3)0 (0)1 (6.7)2.140.7620.218
Muscle relaxants1 (6.7)1 (6.7)2 (13.3)0.551.0000.110
  • Categorical values are indicated as number of patients (n) and the percentage this relates to in terms of each group (%), numeric values as mean±SEM. Comparison between proportions is made with the χ2 test, comparison between means with one-way ANOVA test. Effect sizes are φ (phi) for χ2 test and η2 (eta squared) for one-way ANOVA. Scores range 0 to 66 with higher scores indicating better functioning; Barthel Index measures activities of daily living, scores range from 0 (totally dependent) to 100 (completely independent); spasticity=averaged Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) score from the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. The MAS measures ranges 0 to 5, with higher scores indicating more spasticity; muscle strength=average Medical Research Council score measured from the shoulder flexors, elbow flexors and wrist extensor muscles, scores range 0 to 5, with higher scores indicating higher muscle strength. These muscles were chosen as they resist gravity in a reaching-out movement.33

  • *Stroke site was not known in 12 patients (5 neutral, 3 reward and 4 punishment group).

  • ANOVA, analysis of variance; FMA-UL, Fugl-Meyer Assessment upper limb, measuring UL motor and sensory impairment; N, neutral; P, punishment; R, reward.