Researchers uncover connection between marital history, stroke survival rate
“Our research is the first to show that current and past marital experiences can have significant consequences for one’s prognosis after a stroke,” Dr. Matthew Dupre, lead author and associate professor at the Department of Community and Family Medicine and the Duke Clinical Research Institute, said. “We hope that a greater recognition and understanding of these associations may enable healthcare providers to better identify and treat patients who may be at a potentially high risk of dying after suffering a stroke.”
Each year, almost 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke: it is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the country.
Dupre and Dr. Renato Lopes used the results of a nationwide sample of older adults (2,351 in total) as part of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). The study collected data from marital histories of people who reported having a stroke between 1992 and 2010.
According to the study, stroke patients who were never married were 71 percent more likely to die following a stroke; those who were previously divorced or widowed faced a 23 and 25 percent, respectively, higher mortality rate from a stroke than those in the study who were continuously married. Furthermore, people who were divorced or widowed more than once had a 39 percent and 40 percent greater risk than continually married adults.
The study did not find significant differences in gender, race or ethnicity, suggesting that the risks are affected by patients' psychological and social differences.
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