(HealthDay News) – Health ambiguity, or uncertainty about the outcome of illness, is significantly associated with depression in survivors of first stroke, and this association is stronger for men than women, according to research published online Sept 14 in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Michael J. McCarthy, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional survey study involving 36 survivors of first stroke (16 female and 20 male) within the preceding 36 months to assess the interaction between health ambiguity and depressive symptoms and whether or not gender moderates the association.

The researchers found that health ambiguity, gender, and their interaction with one another were significantly associated with post-stroke depressive symptoms. There was a stronger correlation between health ambiguity and depressive symptoms for males than for females.

“This pilot study indicated that gender and health ambiguity impact survivor depressive symptoms, independently and in conjunction with one another,” the authors write. “Future research, with more sociodemographically diverse samples, should further examine how gender-based health-related beliefs affect survivor outcomes, as well as factors that may protect female survivors from the harmful effects of health ambiguity.”

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