"Better but no cigar": Persons with aphasia speak about their speech

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science




Fromm, D., Holland, A., Armstrong, E., Forbes, M., MacWhinney, B., Risko, A., & Mattison, N. (2011). Better but no cigar: Persons with aphasia speak about their speech. Aphasiology, 25(11), 1431-1447. doi:10.1080/02687038.2011.608839. Available here


Background: This study examined responses of persons with aphasia (PWAs) to a general question about their speech. Aims: The goal was to describe their evaluative responses as positive, negative, or neutral/mixed and etermine if responses differed, based on time post-onset, aphasia severity, and aphasia type. Methods & Procedures: A total of 71 participants from the AphasiaBank project were included. As part of a larger protocol, investigators asked, “How do you think your speech is these days?” Responses were videotaped and transcribed using CLAN. Two authors coded the evaluative responses and categorised themes in the elaborative content provided by the participants. Outcomes & Results: Positive responses accounted for 59% of all responses, followed by neutral/mixed (18%), and negative (17%). Participants also mentioned specific speech problems (35%), improvement (31%), and therapy (8%) in their responses. Time postonset and aphasia type were not significantly associated with nature of response. Aphasia severity was significantly associated with nature of response, with higher AQ scores in the positive group and vice versa. Conclusions: The responses are discussed in the context of self-image and self-expression in PWA and social models in aphasia therapy. Results are also compared with those of others with chronic disabilities and research on resilience, positive affect, and optimism.



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