Happiness and aphasia groups
TITLE OF POSTER: HAPPINESS AND APHASIA GROUPS KEYWORDS: INTERACTION, WELLBEING, OUTCOME WHY THE STUDY WAS UNDERTAKEN The National Clinical Guidelines for stroke (Royal College of Physicians, 2012) highlight the importance of long term, continuing support for people living with aphasia (PWA). It is recognised that PWA may have difficulties maintaining psychological wellbeing post stroke especially after discharge from Speech and Language Therapy services. There is an emerging evidence base to support the premise that attending support groups may enhance the PWA’s feelings of confidence and wellbeing in the community (Van der Gaag, 2005). This undergraduate project was designed to add to this evidence base. Fourteen PWA were asked to share their feelings about how meeting others with aphasia contributed to their overall feelings of happiness and wellbeing. • HOW THE STUDY WAS DONE The Fourteen PWA, seven from two different community groups, volunteered to participate in this research. Average age Women Men Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination Severity Rating Scale (Goodglass and Kaplan, 2001) Severe 0 1 2 3 4 Mininal 5 65.7 8 6 - - 4 PWA 4 PWA 3 PWA 3 PWA Volunteers were interviewed and asked to rate their feelings of happiness using a version of Ryff’s (1989) psychological wellbeing scale that had been adapted for PWA by Hoen et al (1997). Ryff’s (1989) happiness scale is made up of six dimensions that are thought to contribute to emotional wellbeing: self acceptance, independence, positive relations with others, purpose in life, personal growth and the ability to control different environmental situations. Within each of these dimensions PWA were asked to rate four statements on a five point likert scale. The addition of an additional statement “Attending this support group has made me happier” resulted in a twenty five question scale with a possible strength of agreement total of 125. WHAT WAS FOUND 12/14 PWA reported that that their participation in support groups had made them happy. The average total score on Ryff’s (1989) psychological wellbeing scale was 89.5 (71.6%). Statistical analysis was used to compare the differences between the mean score of each dimension. Levene’s test and subsequent independent t tests suggested that PWA felt more positively their ability to be autonomous, (mean 15.21, p 0.001) experience personal growth (mean 15.14, p0.001) and enjoy positive relations with others (mean 15.5, p0.002) compared to their ability to control their environment (mean 11.93). There did not appear to be a relationship between the severity of aphasia and psychological wellbeing overall score. IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE POLICY AND PRACTICE These results add to the growing evidence base that demonstrates the beneficial effects of support groups for PWA. This project also suggests that Ryff’s (1989) scale may be a useful outcome measure for this client group. The results from this limited sample of participants suggest that PWA experience happiness within support groups. Whilst ratings in response to statements such as: “The demands of every day life often get me down” “I can manage the many responsibilities of my daily life” “I feel defeated because I can’t keep up with everything I have to do” suggest that daily life with aphasia is challenging and at times overwhelming. This is despite the ongoing and valuable care provided by support groups such as those described in this research. REFERENCES Goodglass, H. & Kaplan, E. (1983). Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination Test. (2nd edition). Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins. Hoen, B., Thleander, M. and Worsley, J. (1997). Improvement in psychological wellbeing of people with aphasia and their families: evaluation of a community based programme. Aphasiology, 11, 681-691. Royal College of Physicians (2012). National Clinical Guideline for Stroke. (4th Edition). London: Royal College of Physicians. Ryff, C. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological wellbeing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 6, 1069-1081. Van der Gaag, A., Smith, L., Davis, S., Moss, B., Cornelius, V., Laing, S. and Mowles, C. (2005). Therapy and support services for people with long term stroke and aphasia and their relatives: a six-month follow up study. Clinical Rehabilitation, 19, 4, 372-380.
Citation : Cowles, H. and Bixley, M. (2014) Happiness and aphasia groups. Mind the Gap Conference Book of Abstracts, 114.
Research Institute : Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research