Qualitative Analyses of Engagement During Small Group Interactions Involving Persons with Primary Progressive Aphasia
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In group therapy, participant engagement is integral for achieving effective and meaningful clinical interactions. Engagement is defined as a collaborative process by which social interactions are initiated, maintained, or terminated. Although engagement is vital to group therapy, it has remained largely unstudied. Using one videotaped small group interaction involving persons with primary progressive aphasia, the researcher described and analyzed verbal and non-verbal resources impacting engagement and examined conversational actions leading to disengagement and engagement. Data were analyzed using content analysis and principles of conversational analysis. Results found that non-verbal behaviors indicative of engagement included eye gaze, body orientation, laughter, and expressive tones. Verbal behaviors indicative of engagement included latches, overlapping utterances, and repetition of words and phrases. Conversational actions resulting in disengagement included a lack of a clear primary speaker, unsupportive/unhelpful responses, and a greater focus on one member within the group. In contrast, conversational actions resulting in engagement included clinician-appointed turns, participant affirmation, and member support. Findings for the study yielded clinical applications for the promotion of engagement during small group interactions involving persons with primary progressive aphasia and the review of videotaped treatment for clinical education.