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Somatic Awareness and Symptom Attribution in Ischemic Stroke Patients

Reynolds, Ellen; Ward, Louise

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 1 - p 55–62
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000029

ABSTRACT: Problem: Patient delay in seeking treatment for stroke symptoms is a major factor in morbidity and mortality due to stroke. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke, and 54% of those deaths occur before the patient reaches the hospital. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the relationship of somatic awareness and symptom attribution to treatment-seeking behaviors in ischemic stroke patients. Design: This was a descriptive, correlational pilot study. Setting: This study was carried out in three tertiary-care hospitals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Binghamton, New York. Sample: Twenty patients diagnosed with ischemic stroke were included. Instruments: The Modified Somatic Perception Questionnaire measured somatic awareness, and the Symptom Interpretation Questionnaire measured symptom attribution. Results: There was no relationship identified between somatic awareness or symptom attribution and treatment-seeking behaviors. Significance was identified, using t-test comparisons, between physical attribution scores and insurance status (p = .038) and family history of stroke (p = .026). Significant correlations, r = .386 and r = .433, respectively, were identified between somatic awareness and symptom attribution and education. Conclusion: Somatic awareness and symptom attribution were not found to be significantly correlated to time to care. These results must be tempered with the knowledgethat the data were derived from a small sample and that some data were missing due to a lack of recall. Significance was identified, in a comparison of the group means, involving insurance status and family history of stroke, to somatic awareness and symptom attribution. Significant correlation was identified between education and these factors. Future research involving these factors, using a revised methodology, should be considered.

Ellen Reynolds, DrNP, is Adjunct Faculty, Nursing, Keuka College, Keuka Park, NY. Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Louise Ward, PhD, at She is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Graduate Nursing, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses