ASHA journals
5 files

Mental state verbs in children who are DHH (Vachio et al., 2023)

online resource
posted on 2023-09-11, 21:36 authored by Morgan Vachio, Emily A. Lund, Krystal L. Werfel

Purpose: Children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) have documented deficits with complex syntax and vocabulary knowledge. Mental state verbs (MSVs) are necessary for some kinds of complex syntax use and communicate abstract concepts needed for academic language. The purpose of this study was to examine the frequency, diversity, and syntactic context of MSV use in children who are DHH compared to children with typical hearing (CTH).

Method: Seventy-three preschool children (23 with cochlear implants, 22 with hearing aids, and 28 with typical hearing) completed a structured language sample as part of a larger assessment battery. Samples were analyzed and compared across groups for use of MSVs, diversity in MSV use, and syntactical context for MSVs.

Results: Children who are DHH used significantly fewer MSV in complex syntax, a smaller diversity of MSV, and significantly fewer MSV in obligatory contexts compared to CTH. Results for the cochlear implants and hearing aid groups were not significantly different from one another despite differing levels of hearing loss.

Conclusion: Children who are DHH demonstrate significant differences in the rate, diversity, and complexity of MSV use compared to peers with typical hearing.

Supplemental Material S1. Mental state verbs.

Supplemental Material S2. Complex syntax use.

Supplemental Material S3. “I don’t know” frequency and use of “know” without “I don’t know.”

Supplemental Material S4. MSV diversity by group and syntax type.

Supplemental Material S5. Abbreviation definitions.

Vachio, M., Lund, E., & Werfel, K. L. (2023). An analysis of mental state verb and complex syntax use in children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 54(4), 1282–1294.


Work was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders from the National Institutes of Health Grants R03DC014535 (awarded to K. Werfel) and R01DC017173 (awarded to K. Werfel and E. Lund).