Semin Speech Lang 2024; 45(01): 005-023
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-1776418
Review Article

Understanding and Addressing the Individualized Emotional Impact of Aphasia: A Framework for Speech-Language Pathologists

1   Department of Communication Disorders, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
› Author Affiliations


Emotion plays an integral role in communication and has long been considered relevant to aphasia rehabilitation. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), however, may sometimes wonder how or whether to address emotional responses. The purpose of this article was to (1) present a framework that clinicians can use to understand individualized emotional responses in aphasia and (2) discuss examples of how the framework informs practical strategies that SLPs can use to provide emotional support to people with aphasia (PWA). Drawing upon a cognitive–motivational–relational theory of emotions perspective combined with emerging research in aphasia, I show that emotion impacts and is impacted by both language processing and social participation, but this impact should be interpreted in light of individual variability. Personal characteristics, environmental conditions, and cognitive appraisal, considered within a specific cultural context, help account for individualized emotional responses. SLPs should consider interactions among emotional response, language processing, and social participation in aphasia while recognizing each person's unique perception of the situation and resources to cope with it. Additionally, the presented framework provides insights about how SLPs could offer emotional support to PWA. Specific examples related to harnessing situational demands to improve communication, employing active listening, facilitating reappraisal, and strengthening social support are discussed.


The author is a salaried employee of Brigham Young University where some of the research described in this paper was conducted.

Publication History

Article published online:
22 November 2023

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