• autonomy;
  • depression;
  • elderly;
  • stroke

Stroke is one of the leading causes of adult disability. Four million Americans are living with the effects of stroke, with one third having mild impairment and two-thirds experiencing moderate to severe impairment. The residual effects of stroke may include alterations in physiological functioning, cognition, and emotional and psychological changes. One of the more treatable psychological complications is depression, which has been correlated with impairments to social functioning, functional ability, and self-care efficacy. However, most researchers still sense that something else may be contributing to poststroke depression. One such factor may be an elderly person's perceived impaired ability to make choices on his or her own behalf. Thus, the purpose of this research was to determine if this perception is related to poststroke depression. We used a nonexperimental design with a convenience sample of 20 elderly stroke survivors. Each person completed the Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI) and Hertz's Perceived Enactment of Autonomy Scale (PEA), to see if there is a relation between these two phenomena. Pearson product moment correlation r was utilized evidencing a statistically significant, inverse relationship (r = -.79, p <.001) between depression scores and the scores obtained on Hertz's PEA scale.