Slide Slam H3
The Role of Virtual Communication on Well-Being in People with Aphasia and Elderly Control Participants
Holly Avery1, Daniel Jones1, Christina Sotiropoulou Drosopoulou1; 1University of Leeds
Background: The risk of stroke increases exponentially with age, meaning older adults must overcome stroke and age-related declines that threaten their social participation and psychological well-being. However, with Covid-19 accelerating society’s reliance on technology, there is an increased need for virtual communication (VC), intensifying the challenges faced by vulnerable populations such as older adults and people with post-stroke aphasia (PWA). Aims: To investigate the role of VC on well-being in PWA and older adult controls and to determine how Covid-19 restrictions have impacted both groups’ VC. Methods: A between groups correlational design was employed. Seven PWA (M=68.29 years, SD=8.81) and forty-two controls (M=72.07 years, SD=5.18) completed an online questionnaire including The Burden of Stroke Communication Difficulty Scale, a newly developed Virtual Communication Scale and The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale. Results: Aphasia severity negatively correlated with VC, while VC positively correlated with PWA’s well-being. For controls, only age and VC negatively correlated. PWA had significantly lower VC and well-being scores than controls, but neither group reduced their VC during Covid-19 restrictions, despite lockdown limiting access to regular technological support from others outside the household. Thematic analyses explained this with two main themes entitled ‘relationships’ and ‘reluctance’. Discussion: Aphasia negatively impacts VC and well-being beyond the consequences of ageing, and with VC positively influencing PWA’s well-being, virtual communicative training could be beneficial. In future replications, research should consider how technological ability and attitudes impact the relationship between VC and well-being for both groups.