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Multifaceted communication problems in everyday conversations involving people with Parkinson’s Disease

Journal article
Authors Charlotta Saldert
Malin Bauer
Published in Brain Sciences
Volume 7
Issue 10
ISSN 2076-3425
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Language en
Keywords Parkinson’s disease; communication disorder; motor speech disorder; dysarthria; anomia; conversational interaction; spouses; Conversation Analysis
Subject categories Linguistics, Logopedics and phoniatrics


It is known that Parkinson’s disease is often accompanied by a motor speech disorder, which results in impaired communication. However, people with Parkinson’s disease may also have impaired word retrieval (anomia) and other communicative problems, which have a negative impact on their ability to participate in conversations with family as well as healthcare staff. The aim of the present study was to explore effects of impaired speech and language on communication and how this is managed by people with Parkinson’s disease and their spouses. Using a qualitative method based on Conversation Analysis, in-depth analyses were performed on natural conversational interaction in five dyads including elderly men who were at different stages of Parkinson’s disease. The findings showed that the motor speech disorder in combination with word retrieval difficulties and adaptations, such as using communication strategies, may result in atypical utterances that are difficult for communication partners to understand. The coexistence of several communication problems compounds the difficulties faced in conversations and individuals with Parkinson’s disease are often dependent on cooperation with their communication partner to make themselves understood.

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