Reading for Meaning: What Influences Paragraph Understanding in Aphasia? Purpose The current study investigated the effect of text variables including length, readability, propositional content, and type of information on the reading comprehension of people with aphasia. Method The performance of 75 people with aphasia was compared with 87 healthy, age-matched control participants. Reading comprehension was considered in ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 2018
Reading for Meaning: What Influences Paragraph Understanding in Aphasia?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janet Webster
    Speech and Language Sciences, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, King George VI Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Julie Morris
    Speech and Language Sciences, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, King George VI Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • David Howard
    Speech and Language Sciences, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, King George VI Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Maria Garraffa
    School of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Janet Webster: janet.webster@newcastle.ac.uk
  • Editor: Margaret Blake
    Editor: Margaret Blake×
  • Associate Editor: Michael de Riesthal
    Associate Editor: Michael de Riesthal×
  • Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Select Papers From the 46th Clinical Aphasiology Conference.
    Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Select Papers From the 46th Clinical Aphasiology Conference.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Aphasia / Special Issue: Select Papers From the 46th Clinical Aphasiology Conference / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 2018
Reading for Meaning: What Influences Paragraph Understanding in Aphasia?
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, March 2018, Vol. 27, 423-437. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0213
History: Received November 2, 2016 , Revised March 28, 2017 , Accepted June 29, 2017
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, March 2018, Vol. 27, 423-437. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0213
History: Received November 2, 2016; Revised March 28, 2017; Accepted June 29, 2017

Purpose The current study investigated the effect of text variables including length, readability, propositional content, and type of information on the reading comprehension of people with aphasia.

Method The performance of 75 people with aphasia was compared with 87 healthy, age-matched control participants. Reading comprehension was considered in terms of both accuracy in responding to questions tapping comprehension and reading time. Participants with aphasia (PWA) were divided into 2 groups (no reading impairment [PWA:NRI] and reading impairment [PWA:RI]) depending on whether their performance fell within the 5th percentile of control participants.

Results As groups, both PWA:NRI and PWA:RI differed significantly from control participants in terms of reading time and comprehension accuracy. PWA:NRI and PWA:RI differed from each other in terms of accuracy but not reading time. There was no significant effect of readability or propositional density on comprehension accuracy or reading time for any of the groups. There was a significant effect of length on reading time but not on comprehension accuracy. All groups found main ideas easier than details, stated information easier than inferred, and had particular difficulty with questions that required integration of information across paragraphs (gist).

Conclusions Both accuracy of comprehension and reading speed need to be considered when characterizing reading difficulties in people with aphasia.

Acknowledgments
This work was funded by a grant from the Stroke Association (TSA 2011/03) to Julie Morris, Janet Webster, David Howard, Jane Giles, and Akif Gani. The authors would like to thank Jenny Malone and Lois McCluskey for their assistance with data collection, all of the participants for contributing their time, and the individuals and organizations who assisted with recruitment to the study.
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