Upper Limb Performance in Daily Life Improves Over the First 12 Weeks Poststroke

Kimberly J. Waddell, Michael J. Strube, Rachel G. Tabak, Debra Haire-Joshu, Catherine E. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background. Upper limb (UL) performance, or use, in daily life is complex and likely influenced by many factors. While the recovery trajectory of UL impairment poststroke is well documented, little is known about the recovery trajectory of sensor-measured UL performance in daily life early after stroke and the potential moderating role of psychosocial factors. Objective. To examine the recovery trajectory of UL performance within the first 12 weeks poststroke and characterize the potential moderating role of belief, confidence, and motivation on UL performance. Methods. This was a longitudinal, prospective cohort study quantifying UL performance and related psychosocial factors early after stroke. UL performance was quantified via bilateral, wrist-worn accelerometers over 5 assessment sessions for 24 hours. Belief, confidence, and motivation to use the paretic UL, and self-perceived barriers to UL recovery were quantified via survey. Change in 4 accelerometer variables and the moderating role of psychosocial factors was tested using hierarchical linear modeling. The relationship between self-perceived barriers and UL performance was tested via Spearman rank-order correlation analysis. Results. UL performance improved over the first 12 weeks after stroke. Belief, confidence, and motivation did not moderate UL performance over time. There was a negative relationship between UL performance and self-perceived barriers to UL recovery at week 2, which declined over time. Conclusions. Sensor-measured UL performance can improve early after stroke. Early after stroke, rehabilitation interventions may not need to directly target belief, confidence, and motivation but may instead focus on reducing self-perceived barriers to UL recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-847
Number of pages12
JournalNeurorehabilitation and neural repair
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • accelerometry
  • confidence
  • psychosocial
  • sensors
  • stroke
  • upper limb


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