, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 26–34 | Cite as

Perceptions of Psychological Issues Related to Dysphagia Differ in Acute and Chronic Patients

  • Rosemary Martino
  • Dorcas Beaton
  • Nicholas E. Diamant
Original Article


The objectives of this study were (1) to compare and contrast the psychological issues perceived by patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia and explore if the differences relate to recovery trajectory, and (2) to determine whether patients, caregivers, and clinicians had different perceptions of how psychological issues interacted with the lung and nutrition issues as consequences of dysphagia. Two focus groups (one each of acute and chronic patients) were conducted with a total of 8 participants. Four focus groups (3 with clinicians and 1 with caregivers) were also conducted. Through the constant comparison method of grounded theory, the differences in perceptions between acute and chronic patients with dysphagia as well as clinicians and caregivers were explored using theoretical sampling. Two themes evolved: (1) acute and chronic patients differed on how they perceived and prioritized major psychological dimensions; (2) acute patients, chronic patients, caregivers, and clinicians varied in their perceptions of how psychological issues interacted with lung and nutrition issues. The qualitative methodology was successful in identifying contrasting opinions on psychological issues of dysphagia between acute and chronic patients, which differ from the perspectives of clinicians and caregivers. It is important for treating clinicians to be aware of psychological issues, to address them according to the patients’ clinical recovery, and to consider the interplay between psychological and biomedical consequences.


Deglutition disorders Acute Chronic Outcome Psychology Qualitative research Deglutition 



The authors thank the patients, clinicians, and caregivers who participated in these focus groups and allowed their opinions to be analyzed. All authors had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. RM was supported by a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship and DM was supported by a CIHR New Investigator Award. MED-Diet Inc provided a grant to run the patient focus groups but had no influence on the interpretation of data or the final conclusions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemary Martino
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dorcas Beaton
    • 3
  • Nicholas E. Diamant
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Department of Speech-Language PathologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Health Care Outcomes and Research, Toronto Western Research InstituteToronto Western HospitalTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Mobility Program Clinical Research Unit, and Keeman Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge InstituteSt. Michael’s HospitalTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Applied Interventional Research, Toronto Western Research InstituteToronto Western HospitalTorontoCanada

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