Social communication following traumatic brain injury part 2: Identifying effective treatment ingredients

Peter Meulenbroek, Bryan Ness, Rik Lemoncello, Lindsey Byom, Sheila MacDonald, Therese M. O’Neil-Pirozzi, McKay Moore Sohlberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose: Social communication deficits are a severely debilitating aspect of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and there is strong clinical and research interest in how social communication interventions work for this population. Informed by a companion paper targeting assessment of social communication impairments post-TBI, this paper reviews relevant treatment theories and provides an inventory of social communication treatment components. Method: We completed a mapping review examining 17 articles from recent literature reviews and 4 updated articles from a literature search to identify treatment targets and ingredients using the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System (RTSS). Result: Social communication interventions are primarily based on behavioural and cognitive treatment theories. Common social communication treatment targets include changing skilled behaviours and cognitive or affective representations. We offer a menu of therapeutic ingredients and treatment considerations which represent the current state of social communication interventions. Conclusion: By reviewing the social communication intervention literature through a theoretical lens, we identify which treatment targets are missing, which targets are being addressed, and which therapeutic ingredients (i.e. clinician activities) are recommended. A hypothetical case study is provided as a supplement to demonstrate how speech-language pathologists may integrate treatment theory, ingredients, and targets into clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-142
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited Published by Taylor & Francis.


  • Social communication
  • pragmatics
  • speech-language pathology
  • traumatic brain injury
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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