posted on 2019-04-04, 22:08authored byAngela Bradford Wainwright
Purpose: The narrative is an important component of cognitive–linguistic assessment of nonmainstream populations and provides a valuable basis on which to conduct crossethnic/cultural comparisons. Given that there is limited information on the narrative characteristics of African American adults, this study was designed to describe the nature of narrative productions among African American men and women and to determine if gender differences exist in those productions.
Method: Seventy-six African American adults—40 women (ages 46–86 years) and 36 men (ages 45–87 years)—recruited from Washington, DC, and the Metropolitan area took part in the study. Participants produced a complex story retelling and a personal narrative of their choosing. All narratives were transcribed orthographically, parsed into T-units, and analyzed for narrative superstructure. Narratives were then examined by establishing the quantity of information, distribution of information, and African American English (AAE) density and usage.
Results: The results of the study demonstrated that women produced more information across all measures of quantity and narrative conditions. Gender differences were observed where men produced narratives that were brief and succinct whereas women produced longer, more elaborative narratives. Moreover, women produced more information across constituent units of the narratives. Although the use of AAE and its effect on quantity and distribution of information were negligible, the results demonstrated that men produced more occurrences of AAE than women.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that women were more talkative, produced more information, took more time to produce their narratives, and told stories that were more descriptive, evaluative, and reflective than those of their male counterparts. This study also suggests that personal narratives may be more robust in characterizing the process of African American adult narrative production whereas story retelling may be a good contrastive element in further describing narrativization.
Supplemental Material S1. A woman’s personal narrative in its entirety (example of an emotionally laden narrative).
Supplemental Material S2. A male’s personal narrative in its entirety.
Supplemental Material S3. A woman’s personal narrative in its entirety (example of a short narrative).
Supplemental Material S4. A male’s personal narrative in its entirety (example of tangential/topic neutral narrative produced by a male with 12 years education).
Supplemental Material S5. A woman’s personal narrative in its entirety (example of a narrative produced by a woman with 12 years of education).
Supplemental Material S6. A male’s O’Henry story retelling in its entirety (example of a narrative produced by a male with a baccalaureate degree).
Supplemental Material S7. A woman’s O’Henry’s story in its entirety (example of a narrative produced by a woman with a baccalaureate degree).
Bradford Wainwright, A. (2019). Gender differences in the narrative productions of African American adults. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 28, 623–638. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJSLP-18-0153
This research was supported, in part, by a professional development grant awarded by the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (Grant 1341 Angela Bradford Wainwright) in affiliation with the University of the District of Columbia and by the Center for Research Initiatives and Strategies for the Communicatively Impaired in affiliation with the University of Memphis.