Article  |   April 2012
Written Narrative Characteristics in Adults With Language Impairment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rachael Suddarth
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Elena Plante
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Rebecca Vance
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Correspondence to Rachael Suddarth: suddarthrachaelm@sau.edu
  • Rachael Suddarth is now with St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA.
    Rachael Suddarth is now with St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA.×
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Cheryl Scott
    Associate Editor: Cheryl Scott×
Language Disorders / Language
Article   |   April 2012
Written Narrative Characteristics in Adults With Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research April 2012, Vol.55, 409-420. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0295)
History: Accepted 29 Aug 2011 , Received 20 Oct 2010 , Revised 08 Mar 2011
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research April 2012, Vol.55, 409-420. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0295)
History: Accepted 29 Aug 2011 , Received 20 Oct 2010 , Revised 08 Mar 2011

Purpose: Adults with language-based disabilities are known to have deficits in oral language; however, less is known about their written language skills. Two studies were designed to characterize the writing of adults with language-based disabilities.

Method: In Study 1, 60 adults, 30 with language impairment and 30 with typical language, completed written narratives. Forty-one written language measures were analyzed. In Study 2, the measures that had the most potential for reliably indexing deficits were analyzed in an additional 77 adults.

Results: Three measures that showed significant between-group differences and had robust effect sizes in Study 1, total number of verbs, 1-part verbs, and errors, were applied to the samples in Study 2. A group difference for percentage of errors was replicated in the second sample. A discriminant analysis identified 75% of the adults with language impairment and 30% of the adults with typical language as having an impairment based on the percent of written errors.

Conclusions: The writing task revealed consistent group differences in written errors and is clinically applicable in describing a client’s writing. However, the number of written errors was not robust enough to identify whether an adult had a language impairment or not.

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