Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Cerebrovascular Disorders -- complications; Cerebrovascular Disorders -- psychology; Depression


Depressed mood is the most common psychiatric disorder following stroke with estimated prevalence rates ranging anywhere from 20% to 60%. It has been reported that effective and rapid treatment of poststroke depression may enhance stroke rehabilitation and speed up functional recovery. The potential reversibility of depression emphasizes the importance of early identification of poststroke depression. Yet, poststroke depression remains largely untreated as part of the rehabilitation process. Therefore, it is important that health professionals, such as physical therapists, who often work with patients who have suffered a stroke are aware of the signs and symptoms of poststroke depression to ensure correct treatment.

The purpose of this study is to conduct a literature search to: 1) provide a basic understanding of the signs and symptoms of poststroke depression, 2) review the three major theories to explain depression based on neuropharmacology, neuroendocrinology, and neuroanatomy including lesion location, 3) describe the effects of poststroke depression on rehabilitation gains both short and long term, and 4) explain the effects of pharmacotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and psychotherapy used when treating patients suffering from poststroke depression.