Recovery from disability after stroke as a target for a behavioural intervention: Results of a randomised controlled trial

Marie Johnston, Debbie Lee Bonetti, Sara Ann Joice, Beth Sarah Pollard, Val Morrison, Jillian Francis, Ron MacWalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. Disability following stroke is highly prevalent and is predicted by psychological variables such as control cognitions and emotions, in addition to clinical variables. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a workbook- based intervention, designed to change cognitions about control, in improving outcomes for patients and their carers.

Method. At discharge, stroke patients were randomly allocated ( with their carers) to a 5-week intervention ( n = 103) or control ( normal care: n = 100). The main outcome ( at 6 months) was recovery from disability using a performance measure, with distress and satisfaction as additional outcomes.

Results. The intervention group showed significantly better disability recovery, allowing for initial levels of disability, than those in the control group, F( 1,201) = 5.61, p = 0.019. Groups did not differ in distress or satisfaction with care for patients or carers. The only psychological process variable improved by the intervention was Confidence in Recovery but this did not mediate the effects on recovery.

Conclusions. A large proportion of intervention participants did not complete the workbook tasks. This was perhaps associated with the fairly low level of personal contact with workbook providers. The modest success of this intervention suggests that it may be possible to develop effective behavioural interventions to enhance recovery from disability in stroke patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1127
Number of pages11
JournalDisability & Rehabilitation
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • behavioural intervention
  • confidence
  • disability
  • recovery
  • stroke
  • perceived control
  • functional limitations
  • physical-disability
  • depression scale
  • hospital anxiety
  • arm function
  • rehabilitation
  • care
  • outcomes
  • home


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