Characteristics of utterances produced by persons with dementia living in a long-term care facility: Lexical diversity, message clarity, and influence of conversational partners

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Title: Characteristics of utterances produced by persons with dementia living in a long-term care facility: Lexical diversity, message clarity, and influence of conversational partners
Author: Rochester, Tarah B.
Abstract: The language of persons with dementia has been studied in the past , but rarely in the natural context of conversation . The purpose of this study was to examine lexical diversity and message clarity of language produced by persons with dementia during conversational interactions and the influence of conversational partners , if any , on their language characteristics . Six case studies were used to describe the language of people with dementia . Participants were also divided into two groups based on whether or not their communication partner had been trained . Quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed . The following lexical diversity variables were measures : noun rate , pronoun rate , adjective rate , and verb rate . Additionally , Brunét's index , Honoré's statistic , and type -token ratio were also calculated to quantify vocabulary richness . The following message clarity variables were measured in percentages : utterances with a verbal maze , unfinished utterances , fully unintelligible utterances , partially unintelligible utterances , utterances with an inappropriate topic shift , and pronouns with a clear referent . Results revealed that persons with dementia produced more pronouns compared to other content words . Some participants produced language that was lexically rich while others did not . Measures of message clarity varied across participants . There were no significant differences between trained and untrained conversation partner groups on any of the measures . Qualitative analyses revealed some communication partner techniques that seemed to enhance language production in persons with dementia . This study identified some lexical diversity and message clarity measure that could be obtained from a brief conversational language sample and used to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of persons with dementia . Additionally , the study provided insight regarding the contribution of conversational partners to the language of persons with dementia .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /ETD -TTU -2011 -05 -1714
Date: 2011-05

Citation

Characteristics of utterances produced by persons with dementia living in a long-term care facility: Lexical diversity, message clarity, and influence of conversational partners. Master's thesis, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /ETD -TTU -2011 -05 -1714 .

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