Development of a psychological intervention for fatigue after stroke

Simiao Wu, Trudie Chalder, Kirstin E. Anderson, David Gillespie, Malcolm R. Macleod, Gillian E. Mead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background and aim
Post-stroke fatigue (PSF) is common and distressing, but there is insufficient evidence to recommend any effective treatment for it. Psychological interventions are effective in treating fatigue in other conditions. This paper describes the development and evaluation of the feasibility of a psychological intervention for PSF.
Based on psychological correlates of PSF and evidence-based psychological interventions for fatigue in other medical conditions, we developed a manualised psychological intervention for PSF, with input from stroke clinicians, psychological therapists, and stroke survivors. The intervention was delivered by a clinical psychologist to 12 participants with PSF to test its acceptability and feasibility. According to the feedback from participants and therapists, the intervention was refined for future use.
The intervention consisted of six individual, face-to-face treatment sessions, and one follow-up, telephone-delivered booster session. It included psycho-education and discussion of strategies to promote physical and social activities and to challenge unhelpful thoughts. Four participants dropped out and the remaining eight participants completed the intervention. These eight participants also completed all assessments and feedback and reported fatigue levels as lower at the end of the study than at the baseline. All participants reported favourable opinions on the intervention and suggested that the last two treatment sessions be combined and the booster session be delivered in person as opposed to telephone.
This psychological intervention was acceptable to stroke patients and was feasible in the local health service. These findings suggest that a randomised controlled trial to test efficacy is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0183286
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Early online date17 Aug 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Aug 2017


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