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Dissertation

The Effects of Depression on Neuropsychological Test Performance following Right-Hemisphere Stroke

13 December 2002

Abstract

Patients who experience a stroke frequently undergo neuropsychological evaluation to determine if the stroke produced cognitive deficits and the nature of those cognitive deficits. Identification of cognitive deficits guides treatment strategies for the stroke patient. However, many stroke patients suffer from depression and it is well documented in the research literature that depression can lead to decreased neuropsychological test performance. Therefore, to appropriately interpret. neuropsychological test results of stroke patients, it is important to determine the relative effect of neurological damage and depression. The current research literature findings are inconsistent regarding the effects of depression on neuropsychological test performance following stroke. The present study compared archival neuropsychological test data of right-hemisphere stroke patients with (N = 18) and without depression (N = 27) and a control group (N = 16). While both stroke groups performed significantly poorer than controls on tests associated with right-hemisphere functioning, there were no differences between the depressed and not depressed stroke groups on neuropsychological test performance.


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