The Aphasiology Archive
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Communication Wellness Check-Up©: Age-related changes in communicative abilities

Harris, Joyce L. and Kiran, Swathi and Marquardt, Thomas P. and Fleming, Valarie B.
Communication Wellness Check-Up©: Age-related changes in communicative abilities . Aphasiology, 22(7-8), July, 2008, pages 813-825.


Background: Subtle changes in communicative function may be an early sign of an underlying neurological condition. Although early detection is encouraged to prevent illness, decrease morbidity, and reduce disability, early detection does not typically include periodic cognitive-communicative assessment.

Aim: The goal of this research was to determine whether subtle linguistic markers in discourse production would differentiate groups of participants with and without cognitive impairment. Additionally, the relationships among participant variables, performance on standardised cognitive and linguistic measures, and performance on an experimental discourse production task were examined.

Methods & Procedures: A total of 30 neurologically healthy younger adults, 22 neurologically healthy older adults, 10 adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 10 persons with neurological damage (PWND) participated in the study. A discourse production task, “Trip to New York”, and several standardised measures including the BNT, MMSE, and WMS were administered to each participant. The discourse task was analysed in terms of 13 thematic core concepts. For each participant, a proportion score was calculated. The narrative sample also was analysed for several linguistic variables.

Outcomes & Results: Results revealed that the typically functioning groups provided more thematic information than the MCI and PWND groups. Multivariate ANOVA of linguistic variables (e.g., proportion of pronouns, modifiers, nouns, verbs) revealed differences in the proportion of pronouns and modifiers for the four groups.

Conclusions: The study found subtle markers in the complex elicited discourse of individuals with MCI and PWND that may further our understanding of cognitive-communicative changes in typically functioning older adults.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
ID Code:1804
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2007 : 37th : Scottsdale, AZ : May 22-26, 2007)
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
Alternative Locations:
DOI or Unique Handle:10.1080/02687030701818034
Additional Information:Access to the full text is subject to the publisher's access restrictions.