Assessment of Syntax After Adolescent Brain Injury Effects of Memory on Test Performance Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1998
Assessment of Syntax After Adolescent Brain Injury
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lyn S. Turkstra
    National Center for Neurogenic Communication Disorders University of Arizona Tucson
  • Audrey L. Holland
    National Center for Neurogenic Communication Disorders University of Arizona Tucson
  • Contact author: Lyn S. Turkstra, PhD, Case Western Reserve University, Department of Communication Science, 11206 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106
  • Currently affiliated with the Department of Communication Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
    Currently affiliated with the Department of Communication Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH×
Article Information
Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1998
Assessment of Syntax After Adolescent Brain Injury
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1998, Vol. 41, 137-149. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4101.137
History: Received October 5, 1995 , Accepted April 24, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1998, Vol. 41, 137-149. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4101.137
History: Received October 5, 1995; Accepted April 24, 1997

In this study, we investigated the influence of working memory load on performance of a task designed to measure receptive syntax ability. Subjects were 6 brain-injured adolescents and 6 hospitalized control subjects matched for age, sex, and general ability. Each subject was administered the Listening/Grammar subtest of the Test of Adolescent Language (TOAL-3) and a modified version of this subtest with identical syntax and fewer response choices (i.e., a reduced working memory processing and storage load). The syntactic structures tested on these tasks also were measured in spontaneous narratives. The brain-injured subjects' performance was significantly worse than that of controls on both versions of the syntax comprehension subtest. There was a significant group-bytask interaction, as brain-injured subjects' performance was significantly worse on the Listening/Grammar subtest than the modified subtest, whereas Control subjects'performance did not differ across the two tasks. In their spontaneous narratives, subjects in both groups produced the syntactic structures tested on the receptive syntax tasks, with no between-groups difference in syntax production. The results are discussed in terms of test validity and the impact of measurement methods on test performance in disordered groups.

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank Drs. Lee Swanson, Wendy Loken, Alan Thornton, and Janet Nicol; and Dan Judkins and Michael Gottfried for their assistance in the development of this research project. This work was supported in part by National Multipurpose Research Training Center Grant DC-01409 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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