Jan E. Stube

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Cerebrovascular accident (or stroke) afflicts approximately 550,000 Americans per year. It is estimated that three million U.S. citizens live with the disabling effects of strokes, which can limit function in one or more of the following areas: mobility, basic activities of daily living, bowel or bladder control, cognition, emotional functioning, among other disabling conditions (Gresham et al., 1995). Occupational therapists, as rehabilitation professionals, provide sensorimotor and basic activities of daily living assessment and intervention to promote recovery of function post-stroke. Upper extremity neuromuscular electrical stimulation is one strategy that may be used to promote motor recovery.

This study's purpose was to investigate the type of post-stroke variables (i.e., demographic, selected medical, and rehabilitative treatments) which contributed to and predicted improved upper extremity motor and activity of daily living outcomes within the context of an acute rehabilitation inpatient hospital setting. One specific treatment, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, was studied for its impact upon overall upper extremity motor and daily living outcomes. Medical records (N = 136) served as the primary data source for this study's retrospective document review. Electrical stimulation was provided as a treatment to 13.2% of the sample.

Overall, this study found that in the comparison of the subgroups receiving electrical stimulation or not, the only significant difference was in muscle tone or spasticity. When the two subgroups were compared by type of CVA or admit to discharge change scores, additional significant differences were observed on some daily living and motor variables. Specifically, the left brain etiology yielded more findings of significant difference than the right brain etiology.

Other study findings included significant differences in admit to discharge ratings of motor, self-care, and functional ratings for the entire sample and significant positive relationships between right or left hand strength and self-care ability. Higher self-care was predictive of higher cognitive ratings; and two OT function tests were predictive of higher self-care skill in a regression analysis.

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