Exploring associations between chronic stress, depression, and anxiety in people with aphasia
Smith, Alissa Nicole
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The challenges people with aphasia face every day may be perceived as stressful. When perceived stressors persist over time, the neural structures and physiology important to memory, learning, and emotion can be negatively impacted. Additionally, the same neural structures affected by chronic stress are also affected by psychological disorders (e.g., depression and generalized anxiety disorder). In this project, we explored associations between measures of chronic stress, depression, and anxiety in people with aphasia. Self-report measures of depression and anxiety were collected and correlated with a self-report measure and biomarker of chronic stress. Results indicate people who report chronic stress are more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety. A biomarker of the stress hormone cortisol was not associated with self-report of mood symptoms. These findings suggest complicated underlying relationships between chronic stress, depression, and anxiety in people with aphasia. We anticipate these results will be useful given the converging evidence linking chronic stress and psychological disorders to changes in neural structures required for successful rehabilitation (i.e., memory, attention, and executive function). The need to continue exploring these constructs in people with aphasia is critical.
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