A randomised controlled trial of expressive arts-based intervention for young stroke survivors

Caitlin Kar Pui Chan, Temmy Lee Ting Lo, Adrian Ho Yin Wan, Pamela Pui Yu Leung, Marco Yiu Chung Pang, Rainbow Tin Hung Ho (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Stroke causes lasting brain damage that has numerous impacts on the survivor’s physical, psychosocial, and spiritual well-being. Young survivors (< 65 years old) tend to suffer more because of their longer overall survival time. Expressive arts-based intervention is considered a holistic approach for stroke rehabilitation because it allows participants to express their thoughts and emotions through the arts. The group environment also promotes mutual support among participants. The creative art-making process helps expand participants’ creativity and imagination as well as promote a sense of aesthetic appreciation. Previous studies have shown the effectiveness of the arts-based intervention in managing stroke and its psychosocial-spiritual comorbidities. Nevertheless, a systematic study has not been conducted, including in young survivors. This trial plans to investigate the effectiveness of an expressive arts-based intervention on bio-psychosocial-spiritual outcomes in young Chinese stroke survivors. Methods/design: A single-blind, two-arm cluster randomised control trial with a waitlist control design will be adopted. One hundred and fifty-four stroke survivors, aged 18–64 years with modified Rankin Scale scores of 1–4, will be screened and randomised to either an expressive arts-based intervention group or a treatment-as-usual waitlist control group. The intervention group will receive a 90-min session once a week for a total of 8 weeks. All participants will be assessed three times: at baseline, 8 weeks, and 8 months after the baseline. Study outcomes include measures of depression and anxiety, perceived stress, perceived social support, hope, spiritual well-being, quality of life, salivary cortisol, blood pressure, and heart rate. Discussion: This study is expected to contribute to the current knowledge on the effectiveness of an arts-based intervention on the holistic wellness of young stroke survivors. The findings will help stroke survivors and healthcare professionals make better choices in selecting practices that will yield maximum benefits, satisfaction, adherence, and sustainability. In addition, the examination of the relationships between bio-psychosocial-spiritual variables will help contribute to the development of holistic care for the survivors. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03729648. Registered 31 October 2018 - Retrospectively registered, (329 words).

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalBMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2021


  • Expressive arts-based intervention
  • Holistic approach
  • Salivary cortisol
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Young stroke survivors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • General Medicine


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