Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 970345, 8 pages
Research Article

Changes in Identity after Aphasic Stroke: Implications for Primary Care

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Los Angeles County-USC, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
2Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA
3Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
4Department of Health Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
5Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, ENRM Veterans Affairs Hospital, Bedford, MA 01730, USA

Received 22 July 2014; Accepted 15 November 2014

Academic Editor: Jens Søndergaard

Copyright © 2015 Benjamin Musser et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Stroke survivors with aphasia experience difficulty associated with their communication disorder. While much has been written about aphasia’s impacts on partners/family, we lack data regarding the psychosocial adjustment of aphasic stroke survivors, with a paucity of data from the patients themselves. Methods. Qualitative study of lived experiences of individuals with poststroke aphasia. Each of the stroke survivors with aphasia completed 3-4 semistructured interviews. In most cases, patients’ partners jointly participated in interviews, which were transcribed and analyzed using techniques derived from grounded theory. Results. 12 patients were interviewed, with the total of 45 interviews over 18 months. Themes included poststroke changes in patients’ relationships and identities, which were altered across several domains including occupational identity, relationship and family roles, and social identity. While all these domains were impacted by aphasia, the impact varied over time. Conclusion. Despite the challenges of interviewing individuals with aphasia, we explored aphasia’s impacts on how individuals experience their identity and develop new identities months and years after stroke. This data has important implications for primary care of patients with aphasia, including the importance of the long-term primary care relationship in supporting psychosocial adjustment to life after aphasic stroke.