Health anxiety in stroke survivors: a cross-sectional study on the prevalence of health anxiety in stroke survivors and its impact on quality of life

Peter Diamond, Leon Dysch, Jo Daniels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Purpose
To explore the prevalence of health anxiety in stroke survivors and its relative impact on quality of life.

Materials and methods
A cross-sectional design was used including between group comparisons of high and low health anxious stroke survivors. Stroke survivors (n = 105) were recruited via online stroke community forums. Participants completed measures of health anxiety (Short Health Anxiety Inventory), general anxiety and depression (Hospital and Anxiety and Depression Scale), disability (WHO Disability Assessment Schedule), and quality of life (Quality of Life Index). Demographics and medical histories were also assessed.

Results
Thirty percent of the sample scored above the clinical cut off for health anxiety. Stroke survivors with high health anxiety (HiHA) were found to have significantly lower quality of life (p < 0.001) and higher rates of depression (p < 0.001). Regression analysis found health anxiety to be a significant predictor of quality of life (β = –0.12; p < 0.05) in addition to levels of depression (β = –0.33; p < 0.001) and disability (β = –0.53; p < 0.001).

Conclusions
Almost a third of stroke survivors were experiencing clinical levels of health anxiety, with HiHA significantly associated with lower quality of life. Future research should explore the use of existing evidence based psychological interventions for health anxiety in this population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Early online date6 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jan 2022

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