Spouses of first-ever stroke victims: sense of coherence in the first phase after stroke
Gunilla Forsberg-Wärleby , Anders Möller , Christian Blomstrand
According to Antonovsky, the individual's sense of coherence is assumed to be crucial in coping with stressful life events. The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between the sense of coherence of the spouses of stroke victims, the objective severity of the stroke and the spouses' perception of life satisfaction, psychological wellbeing and cognitive image of life in the future in the first phase after stroke. Eighty-three consecutively enrolled spouses to first-ever stroke victims < 75 years participated. Multiple correlations were done to study the association between Antonovsky's 29-item Sense of Coherence scale and the objective impairments of the stroke victim, the Life Satisfaction Checklist, the "view of the future" and the Psychological General Well-being Index. The sense of coherence was significantly associated with satisfaction with life as a whole before stroke (p < 0.001), partnership (p = 0.002), sexual life (p = 0.005), family life (p < 0.001) and financial situation (p = 0.001). The severity of the impairments of the stroke victims was not significantly associated with the spouses' sense of coherence. However, the sense of coherence was significantly associated with the perception of the future life situation (p = 0.006). The sense of coherence was also significantly associated with the perception of positive well-being (p = 0.007), self-control (p = 0.009), general health (p = 0.009) and vitality (p = 0.002) at the present, whereas the association with anxiety and depressed mood were not statistical significant. In the experience of a stressful life event such as stroke, satisfaction with general life, close relationships and the socio-economic situation were significantly associated with the spouse's sense of coherence. Spouses with a low sense of coherence were more likely to have low psychological well-being and a more pessimistic view of their life in the future.
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