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Psychiatric morbidity in first time stroke patients in Hong Kong: a pilot study in a rehabilitation unit


  • Wai-kwong Tang,

  • Gabor S. Ungvari,

  • Helen F. K. Chiu,

  • Kai-hoi Sze,

  • Jean Woo,

  • Richard Kay

Wai-kwong Tang, Associate Professor (Correspondence);
Gabor S. Ungvari, Associate Professor;
Helen F. K. Chiu, Professor
Department of Psychiatry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 11/F, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong SAR, China. Email:

Kai-hoi Sze, Senior Medical Officer; Jean Woo, Professor; Richard Kay, Professor
Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Objective: There is a paucity of data on post-stroke psychiatric morbidity in Chinese populations. We examined the frequency of post-stroke psychiatric morbidity in Chinese first time stroke patients, including depressive and anxiety disorders, mania, and psychosis.

Methods: One hundred and fifty-seven patients following their first stroke, who were consecutively admitted to a rehabilitation unit, participated in this prospective, cross-sectional study. All subjects were interviewed by a qualified psychiatrist using the SCID-DSM-III-R. Subjects’ cognitive function, neurological status, and level of functioning were also measured. Twenty-five (92.6%) of the subjects with the diagnosis of depression were followed up 6.0 ± 3.9 months after the initial assessment.

Results: The frequency of all depressive disorders was 17.2%. Major depressive episodes, adjustment disorder with depressed mood, dysthymia, and generalized anxiety disorder were diagnosed in 7.6%, 8.2%, 1.3% and 0.6% of the subjects, respectively. No cases of other anxiety disorders, mania or psychosis were found. The majority of depressed subjects were in remission at the follow-up assessment.

Conclusions: The low morbidity of affective disorders and their relatively favourable short-term outcome in Chinese first time stroke patients warrants further investigation.