Mental practice ability among post-stroke survivors: Do depression and pre-stroke physical activity matter?


Background: Mental practice is frequently used among stroke-populations to improve physical outcomes such as balance, gait and grip strength (Li et al., 2017). Despite its association with functional advantages after stroke (Stroud et al., 2009), psychological factors and pre-stroke physical activity have been mainly spared when determining mental practice ability (MPA). Consequently, we aim to examine whether former physical activity and depression are related to MPA after stroke. Methods: N = 43 post-stroke patients (mean age = 65.8, 41.9% female) were assessed by paper pencil questionnaires in a German rehabilitation center. Sociodemographic items, the Kinaesthetic and Visual Imagery Questionnaire (Malouin et al., 2007), the Becks Depression Inventory (Beck, 1996), the International Physical Acitivity Questionaire (Craig, 2003) and the short version of the Stroke Impact Scale (Maclsaac et al., 2016) were used. Multiple regression methods were used in SPSS 24. Age, sex and stroke impact were included as covariates. Results: In contrast to our hypotheses, neither pre-stroke physical activity (ß=.05, p=.785) nor depression (ß=-.22, p=.221) was related to MPA after stroke. Conclusion: Among our sample, there was no relationship between MPA, depression and physical activity prior stroke. Longitudinal studies with bigger sample sizes are needed to further investigate associations and consider subgroup differences that may useful for designing future interventions for post-stroke survivors.