Scientific title:
Singing for People with Aphasia (SPA): A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial of a Group Singing Intervention to Improve Wellbeing
University of Exeter
Principal investigator:
Dr Mark Tarrant
Grant value:
Research ID:
TSA 2016-04
Research area:
Start date:
Saturday 1 April 2017
End date:
Tuesday 31 March 2020
1 year 9 months
Year awarded:


About one-third of the 152,000 people affected by a stroke each year in the UK have aphasia. This study will be conducted in Devon, where there are approximately 6,000 people who live with aphasia.

Beyond impaired language function, people with aphasia report a range of psychosocial health problems which negatively affect their wellbeing, including reduced confidence and social isolation. These psychosocial problems aren't adequately addressed by healthcare services.

This study will pilot a new group-based singing intervention for improving the psychosocial health of people with aphasia. The research is already underpinned by extensive engagement work and a development study. People with aphasia involved in that work have repeatedly suggested that singing with others in a group setting may help them reconnect with society, and that this may improve their wellbeing.

The current absence of evidence from randomised controlled trials into this type of intervention means that pilot work is needed before progressing to a full trial. This study is designed to help plan such a trial.


The study will recruit 48 people with aphasia, half of whom will be randomly assigned to receive a standardised resource pack containing information about living with aphasia. The other half (intervention group) will receive the same resource pack and participate in a 10-weekly group singing programme involving about 12 people per group.

The intervention will be assessed for whether it's feasible and acceptable to participants. It will focus on how well the study can recruit and retain participants, whether outcome measures at various assessment points can be successfully collected, and how well the intervention can be delivered in different locations with different groups.

The complexity of the intervention and the likely ways in which it may work will be documented. This will be used to refine an intervention ‘manual’ ahead of the main trial to inform how it's conducted.

What did the study find?

In this article, you can read about what this study found.