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Returning to Unpaid Work after Stroke: The Psychosocial Outcomes in Stroke Cohort Study

Cheryl Carcel, Sara Farnbach, Beverley M Essue, Qiang Li, Nick Glozier, Stephen Jan, Richard Lindley, Maree L Hackett
Cerebrovascular Diseases 2019 January 17, 47 (1-2): 1-7

BACKGROUND: While returning to paid work is a crucial marker of stroke recovery, little is known about the differences in unpaid work by sex following stroke. We aimed to determine the sex differences in participation in unpaid work 12 months after stroke.

METHODS: Psychosocial outcomes in stroke were a prospective, multicentre observational study that recruited individuals, 18-64 years, within 28 days of stroke from New South Wales, Australia. Unpaid work was defined as ≥5 h per week of one or more of: unpaid domestic work for the household; unpaid care of others; looking after own children without pay or looking after someone else's children without pay. Data was collected before stroke, 28 days (baseline), 6 and 12 months follow-up.

RESULTS: Eighty per cent of women and 52% of men engaged in ≥5 h per week of unpaid work before stroke. At 12 months after, 69% of women and 53% of men completed ≥5 h of unpaid work per week. For women, there was a significant association between participation in unpaid work at 12 months and having financially dependent children (OR 2.67; 95% CI 1.08-6.59). A return to unpaid work in men was associated with participation in unpaid work before stroke (OR 3.74; 95% CI 2.14-6.53).

CONCLUSIONS: More women are engaged in unpaid work before and at 12 months after stroke, but there is a reduction in the proportion of women returning to unpaid work at 12 months not seen in men. Consideration may need to be given to the development of rehabilitation strategies targeted at the specific needs of stroke survivors.


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