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Description and effectiveness of communication partner training in TBI: A systematic review

Behn, N. ORCID: 0000-0001-9356-9957, Francis, J., Togher, L. , Hatch, E., Moss, B. & Hilari, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-2091-4849 (2021). Description and effectiveness of communication partner training in TBI: A systematic review. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 36(1), pp. 56-71. doi: 10.1097/htr.0000000000000580


Objectives: Evaluate the current evidence on communication partner training and its effectiveness on outcomes for people with TBI and/or their communication partners.

Methods: Information sources: Systematic searches of nine databases (AMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, Medline/EBSCOHOST, PsycINFO, PsycBITE, PsycARTICLES, PubMed, Scopus) from database inception to February 2019. Eligibility criteria: Empirical studies on interventions for adult communication partners where the primary focus of the program (>50%) was on improving communication skills of people with TBI and/or communication partners. Data: participants, characteristics of the training, outcome measures and findings. Risk of bias: standard checklists were used for methodological quality (PEDRO, ROBiN-T) and intervention description (TIDieR). Synthesis: narrative synthesis and effect sizes (Cohen’s d) for group-level studies.

Outcomes: Ten articles (describing eight studies) met eligibility criteria: three randomized controlled trials, two non-randomised controlled trials and three single-case experimental designs. Studies included a total of 258 people with TBI and 328 communication partners, however all but one study had fewer than 65 participants. Methodological quality varied and intervention description poor. Three studies in the final synthesis (n=41 communication partners, n=36 people with TBI) reported positive intervention effects. Effect sizes in group studies were (d=0.80-1.13) for TBI and (d=1.16-2.09) for communication partners.

Conclusions: The articles provided encouraging though limited evidence for training communication partners. Greater methodological rigour, more clearly described interventions, and consistent use of outcome measures and follow-up post-treatment are needed. Further research in this field is warranted.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
SWORD Depositor:
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