Apathy is common after stroke and has been associated with cognitive impairment. However, causality between post-stroke apathy and cognitive impairment remains unclear. We assessed the course of apathy in relation to changes in cognitive functioning in stroke survivors. Using the Apathy Scale (AS) and cognitive tests on memory, processing speed and executive functioning at six- and 15 months post-stroke we tested for associations between (1) AS-scores and (change in) cognitive scores; (2) apathy course (persistent/incident/resolved) and cognitive change scores. Of 117 included participants, 29% had persistent apathy, 13% apathy resolving over time and 10% apathy emerging between 6-15 months post-stroke. Higher AS-scores were cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with lower cognitive scores. Relations between apathy and cognitive change scores were ambiguous. These inconsistent relations between apathy and changes in cognition over time suggest that post-stroke apathy does not directly impact cognitive performance. Both these sequelae of stroke require separate attention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychology, development, and cognition. Section B, Aging, neuropsychology and cognition
Issue number1
Early online date8 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Stroke
  • apathy scale
  • cognition
  • cognitive impairment
  • cross-sectional
  • longitudinal
  • post-stroke apathy

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