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Stability and success in conversation in aphasia (Leaman & Edmonds, 2019)

posted on 29.01.2019, 14:48 by Marion C. Leaman, Lisa A. Edmonds
Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine if people
with aphasia demonstrate differences in microlinguistic skills
and communicative success in unstructured, nontherapeutic
conversations with a home communication partner
(Home-P) as compared to a speech-language pathologist
communication partner (SLP-P).
Method: Eight persons with aphasia participated in 2 unstructured, nontherapeutic 15-min conversations, 1 each with an unfamiliar SLP-P and a Home-P. Utterance-level analysis evaluated communicative success. Two narrow measures of lexical relevance and sentence frame were used to evaluate independent clauses. Two broad lexical and morphosyntactic measures were used to evaluate elliptical and dependent clauses and to evaluate independent clauses for errors beyond lexical relevance and sentence frame (such as phonological and morphosyntactic errors). Utterances were further evaluated for presence of behaviors indicating lexical retrieval difficulty (pauses, repetitions, and false starts) and for referential cohesion.
Results: No statistical differences occurred for communicative success or for any of the microlinguistic measures between the SLP-P and Home-P conversation conditions. Four measures (2 of lexical retrieval and 1 each of communicative success and grammaticality)showed high correlations across the 2 conversation samples. Individuals showed variation of no more than 10 percentage points between the 2 conversation conditions for 46 of 56 data points. Variation greater than 10 percentage points tended to occur for the measure of referential cohesion and primarily for 1 participant.
Conclusions: Preliminary findings suggest that these microlinguistic measures and communicative success have potential for reliable comparison across Home-P and SLP-P conversations, with the possible exception of referential cohesion. However, further research is needed with a larger, more diverse sample. These findings suggest future assessment and treatment implications for clinical and research needs.

Supplemental Material S1. Wilcoxon signed-ranks test results comparing frequency of content words across conversations.

Supplemental Material S2. Group differences in mean length of utterance (MLU) and type token ratio (TTR).

Leaman, M. C., & Edmonds, L. A. (2019). Conversation in aphasia across communication partners: Exploring stability of microlinguistic measures and communicative success. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 28(1S), 359-372. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0148

Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Select Papers From the 47th Clinical Aphasiology Conference.