Social support in people with chronic aphasia

Katerina Hilari, Sarah Northcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Aims : Stroke and aphasia can have a profound impact on people's social activities, and family and social relationships. This study looked at patterns of social support in people with chronic aphasia following stroke. It examined the relationship between social support and quality of life, exploring which aspects of social support (social network versus perceived social support) were most associated with health-related quality of life (HRQL). Methods & Procedures : A cross-sectional interview-based survey study was conducted. A cluster-sampling framework was used to recruit participants with chronic aphasia following stroke (> 1 year) from three different sites in the south-east of England. Measures included the Stroke and Aphasia Quality of Life Scale-39 item version (SAQOL-39), the MOS Social Support Survey (SSS), and a social network questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, correlation, t -tests, and ANOVAs were used as appropriate. Outcomes & Results : The results of those able to self-report (83 out of 95 participants, 87%) are reported here. In terms of social networks, the mode of the size of network was 4. Size of network was associated with HRQL for women only. Most participants (71%) reported they had the same amount of contact with their children following the stroke, while 64% reported they saw their friends less. Those who had the same level of contact with their family as before the stroke had the highest HRQL scores; those who saw them either less or more than before the stroke had lower HRQL. In terms of perceived social support, the SSS scores were negatively skewed with a mean (SD) of 3.69 (.95), suggesting that participants felt overall well supported. Two types of support were significantly correlated with HRQL: social companionship and informational support. Clinical implications : Therapy services for people with aphasia could consider ways to enhance social companionship and informational support as this may positively impact on HRQL. Implications could include complementing and supporting existing social networks, and facilitating access to information and social participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-36
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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