Telling the Story of Stroke When It's Hard to Talk
Topics in Language Disorders
aphasia, illness narratives, stroke
Illness narratives may be told in various contexts and are reported to be associated with a variety of positive health outcomes, such as fewer doctors' office visits. The story of stroke onset can be highly varied among people without language impairments, seeming to reflect the way the individual is understanding and adapting to living with the consequences of stroke. Although individuals with aphasia due to stroke appear to have the linguistic capability to construct the typical forms included in a stroke narrative, it is unknown whether the range of narrative styles among individuals with aphasia parallels those produced by individuals without aphasia. Therefore, 20 consecutive stroke narratives drawn from the AphasiaBank database were subjected to content analysis through open coding to identify the major categories of the narratives. The narrative categories ranged from some that were highly detailed to others that were vague. Still others emphasized that stroke has a specific ending or beginning. Interestingly, only 20% of the stroke narratives produced by people with aphasia included the experience of speech symptoms at the time of onset. Researchers who study stroke narratives produced by people with or without aphasia should acknowledge the range of narratives that may reflect individual adaptation beyond other cognitive–linguistic abilities. Clinicians are encouraged to support the telling and retelling of the stroke story because it may contribute to the wellness of the individual.
Hinckley, Jacqueline, "Telling the Story of Stroke When It's Hard to Talk" (2015). HPD Articles. 210.
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