Purpose. To evaluate existing research literature on psychological interventions to manage post-stroke depression (PSD).
Method. First, the particular nature of post-stroke depression (PSD) was established. Then, relevant published material was identified through computerized literature searches (to May 1999) and via the first author's clinical experience in the area. This material was critically reviewed against recommended standards for the empirical validation of treatment effectiveness.
Results. Methodological limitations in existing research prevent a conclusion as any one psychological intervention has empirical support for its effectiveness. However, cognitive behaviour therapy in particular was identified as worthy of further investigation.
Conclusions. It is recommended that future research investigates treatments for PSD appropriate for those with cognitive impairment and communication difficulties, younger versus older stroke victims and those in institutional settings. Studies should also consider the necessity of specialist assessment strategies and allow for possible subtypes of PSD for which psychological treatments might be differentially effective.