Roles of cognitive status and intelligibility in everyday communication in people with Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review

Maxwell Barnish, Daniel Whibley, Simon Horton, Zoe Butterfint, Katherine Deane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Communication is fundamental to human interaction and the development and maintenance of human relationships and is frequently affected in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, research and clinical practice have both tended to focus on impairment rather than participation aspects of communicative deficit in PD. In contrast, people with PD have reported that it is these participation aspects of communication that are of greatest concern to them rather than physical speech impairment.
Objective: To systematically review the existing body of evidence regarding the association between cognitive status and/or intelligibility and everyday communication in PD.
Methods: Five online databases were systematically searched in May 2015 (Medline Ovid, EMBASE, AMED, PsycINFO and CINAHL) and supplementary searches were also conducted. Two reviewers independently evaluated retrieved records for inclusion and then performed data extraction and quality assessment using standardised forms. Articles were eligible for inclusion if they were English-language original peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters or doctoral theses investigating the associations between at least one of cognitive status and level of intelligibility impairment and an everyday communication outcome in human participants with PD.
Results: 4816 unique records were identified through database searches with 16 additional records identified through supplementary searches. 41 articles were suitable for full-text screening and 15 articles (12 studies) met the eligibility criteria. 10 studies assessed the role of cognitive status and 9 found that participants with greater cognitive impairment had greater everyday communication difficulties. 4 studies assessed the role of intelligibility and all found that participants with greater intelligibility impairment had greater everyday communication difficulties, although effects were often weak and not consistent.
Conclusions: Both cognitive status and intelligibility may be associated with everyday communicative outcomes in PD. The contribution of intelligibility to everyday communication appears to be of small magnitude, suggesting that other factors beyond predominantly motor-driven impairment-level changes in intelligibility may play an important role in everyday communication difficulties in PD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-462
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Issue number3
Early online date16 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2016


  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Cognition
  • Communication
  • Systematic review
  • participation

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