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Texting behaviors of individuals with aphasia (Kinsey et al., 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2021, 16:43 by Laura E. Kinsey, Jaime B. Lee, Elissa M. Larkin, Leora R. Cherney
Purpose: In today’s digital world, text messaging is one of the most widely used ways that people stay connected. Although it is reported that people with aphasia experience difficulties with texting, little information is available about how they actually do text. This study reports texting behaviors, such as the number and type of messages sent and contacts individuals with aphasia have. The relationships between texting behaviors and aphasia severity, including writing impairments, and social connectedness are explored.
Method: Twenty participants were sampled from an ongoing randomized clinical trial investigating an electronic writing treatment for aphasia (Clinical Trials Identifier: NCT03773419). Participants provided consent for researchers to view and analyze texts sent and received over a 7-day period immediately prior to the assessment. Participants’ text messages were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded.
Results: Over the 7-day period, the number of contacts with whom participants texted ranged from one to 18. The mean number of text messages exchanged was 40.3 (SD = 48.24), with participants sending an average of 15.4 (SD = 23.45) texts and receiving an average of 24.9 (SD = 29.44) texts. Participants varied in the types of texts sent; some had a larger proportion of initiated texts, while others drafted more responses, either simple or elaborative in nature. There was no correlation between the total number of texting exchanges and the Western Aphasia Battery–Revised Aphasia Quotient (rs = .13, p = . 29) or the Western Aphasia Battery–Revised Writing subtest (rs = .05, p = .42). There was also no correlation between the total number of texting exchanges and scores on measures of social connectedness.
Conclusions: Texting behaviors of individuals with aphasia are widely variable. Demographics, severity of aphasia and writing, and social connectedness may not predict texting behaviors. Therefore, it is clinically important to explore the unique texting abilities and preferences of each individual to meet their communication and social participation goals.

Supplemental Material S1. Technology survey.

Supplemental Material S2. Western Aphasia Battery–Revised Writing scores.

Kinsey, L. E., Lee, J. B., Larkin, E. M., & Cherney, L. R. (2021). Texting behaviors of individuals with chronic aphasia: A descriptive study. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJSLP-20-00287

Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Select Papers From the 50th Clinical Aphasiology Conference.


This study was supported by Grant 90IFRE0007 to Leora R. Cherney from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. Manuscript preparation was supported by the Coleman Foundation.