Dysphagic independent feeders' justifications for noncompliance with recommendations by a speech-language pathologist

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2005 Feb;14(1):61-70. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2005/008).


The purpose of this study was to examine the various ways in which independent-feeding patients with dysphagia justified their noncompliance with swallowing recommendations suggested by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Sixty-three independent-feeding dysphagia patients between the ages of 65 and 100 years who had been identified by the SLP or staff as noncompliant with SLP recommendations were interviewed about their reasons for noncompliance. Reasons were classified into 8 categories: (a) denial of a swallowing problem, (b) dissatisfaction with the preparations such as thickened liquids or pureed foods, (c) assuming a calculated risk for noncompliant behaviors, (d) rationalizing their noncompliance in the face of contradictory evidence, (e) minimization of the severity of their problem, (f) verbal accommodation while maintaining noncompliance, (g) projection of blame toward the SLP, and (h) deflection of noncompliance by referring to an external authority. Reasons for noncompliance were discussed in light of theory and research on denial, coping mechanisms, and the social-cognitive transition model. Implications were drawn for SLP practice in dealing with noncompliant independent-feeding patients with dysphagia.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Deglutition Disorders / psychology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy*
  • Denial, Psychological
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Projection
  • Rationalization
  • Speech-Language Pathology / methods*
  • Treatment Refusal*