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Feasibility and initial efficacy of project-based treatment for people with ABI

Behn, N. ORCID: 0000-0001-9356-9957, Marshall, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6589-221X, Togher, L. & Cruice, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-7344-2262 (2019). Feasibility and initial efficacy of project-based treatment for people with ABI. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 54(3), pp. 465-478. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12452


Background: Communication impairments are common and pervasive for people a long time following acquired brain injury (ABI). These impairments have a significant impact on a person's quality of life (QOL) post‐injury. Project‐based treatment is a treatment approach that could have an impact on communication skills and QOL for people with ABI a long‐term post‐injury. This treatment is embedded in a context of meaningful activities chosen by people with ABI, whereby, as a group, they work collaboratively to achieve a tangible end product.

Aims: To evaluate the feasibility and initial efficacy of project‐based treatment on improving the communication skills and QOL for people with ABI.

Methods & Procedures: An exploratory controlled trial with alternate allocation of groups, and follow‐up at 6–8 weeks, was completed. Twenty‐one people with chronic ABI were recruited in groups of two to three from community settings, allocated to either a TREATMENT (n = 11) or WAITLIST group (n = 10). Participants attended a 20‐h group‐based treatment over 6 weeks where they worked towards achieving a project that helped others. To determine feasibility, four criteria were used: demand, implementation, practicality and acceptability. A range of communication and QOL outcomes was used to determine a fifth feasibility criterion, initial efficacy. Some of these criteria were additionally used to evaluate the feasibility of the outcomes.

Outcomes & Results: All participants received the treatment as allocated with high attendance and no dropouts. The treatment was feasible to deliver as intended and was highly acceptable to participants. Medium and large effect sizes were found from pre‐ to post‐treatment, and from pre‐treatment to follow‐up for measures of conversation, perceived communicative ability and QOL.

Conclusions & Implications: Project‐based treatment is feasible with indications of initial efficacy for both communication skills and QOL. The treatment provides a promising new approach for improving communication skills and QOL in people with chronic acquired brain injuries in the community setting.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Behn, N. , Marshall, J. , Togher, L. and Cruice, M. (2018). Feasibility and initial efficacy of project-based treatment for people with ABI. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher Keywords: treatment, rehabilitation, communication, cognitive communication, quality of life, project, controlled trial, brain injury
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
SWORD Depositor:
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