Background: Persistent deficits in arm function are common after stroke. An improved understanding of the factors that contribute to the performance of skilled arm movements is needed. One such factor may be self-efficacy (SE).
Objective: To determine the level of SE for skilled, goal-directed reach actions in individuals with mild motor impairment after stroke and whether SE for reach performance correlated with actual reach performance.
Methods: A total of 20 individuals with chronic stroke (months poststroke: mean 58.1 ± 38.8) and mild motor impairment (upper-extremity Fugl-Meyer [FM] motor score: mean 53.2, range 39 to 66) and 6 age-matched controls reached to targets presented in 2 directions (ipsilateral, contralateral). Prior to each block (24 reach trials), individuals rated their confidence on reaching to targets accurately and quickly on a scale that ranged from 0 (not very confident) to 10 (very confident).
Results: Overall reach performance was slower and less accurate in the more-affected arm compared with both the less-affected arm and controls. SE for both reach speed and reach accuracy was lower for the more-affected arm compared with the less-affected arm. For reaches with the more-affected arm, SE for reach speed and age significantly predicted movement time to ipsilateral targets (R2 = 0.352), whereas SE for reach accuracy and FM motor score significantly predicted end point error to contralateral targets (R2 = 0.291).
Conclusions: SE relates to measures of reach control and may serve as a target for interventions to improve proximal arm control after stroke.