Brief Report
Issue Date: May/June 2005
Published Online: May 01, 2005
Updated: April 30, 2020
Positive Consequences of Surviving a Stroke
Author Affiliations
  • Glen Gillen, EdD, OTR, BCN, is Assistant Professor in Clinical Occupational Therapy, Programs in Occupational Therapy, Columbia University, 710 West 168th Street, 8th Floor, New York, New York 10032;
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Stroke / Departments / Brief Report
Brief Report   |   May 01, 2005
Positive Consequences of Surviving a Stroke
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2005, Vol. 59, 346-350.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2005, Vol. 59, 346-350.
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This exploratory study focused on gaining insight into the psychological experience of stroke survivors undergoing inpatient rehabilitation. Specifically it investigated whether stroke survivors undergoing inpatient rehabilitation were able to identify any positive consequence of their stroke. This phenomenon, also know as benefit finding or positive reframing, has recently received more attention in the coping literature examining reactions to severe illness.

Using a case series methodology and qualitative analytic techniques, 16 stroke survivors were interviewed using standardized open-ended questions related to identification of positive consequences attributed to surviving a stroke. Sixty-three percent of the patients interviewed were able to identify positive consequences of their stroke. The following five themes regarding positive consequences of stroke emerged from this case series: increased social relationships, increased health awareness, change in religious life, personal growth, and altruism. It was concluded that some individuals who have survived an acute stroke are able to reframe their experience in a positive light. This study provides occupational therapists and others with further insight into the coping mechanisms of those individuals who have survived a stroke. The need for further research is stressed.