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Resilience in stroke survivors: identifying factors that contribute to successful adaptation

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  • Health care providers report that individuals with similar levels of impairment after stroke have markedly different outcomes (Hartman-Maeir et al., 2007). Pilot studies of stroke survivors suggest that resilience may be a primary mediating variable accounting for the fact that some individuals recover higher levels of function and reintegration into society than would be predicted by their initial prognoses. Researchers define resilience as, “positive adaptation despite experiencing significant adversity that normally would be expected to bring about negative outcomes” (Luthar, 2006, p. 739). Researchers have recently used the resilience framework as a useful mechanism to identify factors that foster positive outcomes in individuals living with chronic health conditions. Multiple protective factors are theorized to contribute to resilience in individuals post- stroke: [1] active cultivation of hope and optimism along with mitigation of depressive symptoms (Allen, Savadatti, Levy, & Gurmankin, 2009; Cherry, Galea, & Silva, 2008; Uomoto, 2008); [2] strong social and emotional support networks (Cherry et al., Glymour, Weuve, Fay, Glass & Berkman, 2008; Nahlén & Saboonchi, 2010; Tomberg, Toomela, Ennok & Tikk, 2007; Uomoto, 2008); [3] active, solution-driven coping styles underpinned by the belief in one’s power to affect positive change (Abbott, Hart, Morton, Gee, & Conway, 2008; Fok, Chair, & Lopez, 2005; Nahlén & Saboonchi, 2010; Sofaer-Bennett, Moore, Lamberty, & O’Dwyer, 2007; Tomberg et al., 2007; [4] high motivation to continue to keep active and attaining goals (Cherry et al., 2008; Sofaer-Bennett et al., 2009; and [5] be relatively young (Hildon, Smith, Netuveli, & Blane, 2008).

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International