Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Gail Ramsberger

Second Advisor

Kathryn Hardin

Third Advisor

Brenda Schick

Abstract

Research has shown that narrative analysis can be an indicator of cognitive-linguistic changes after TBI of varying levels of severity. Is it unknown, however, how this research applies to women, who display greater levels of cognitive impairment and self-reported symptoms post-concussion than their male counterparts. The current study considered the use of narrative discourse analysis in delineating changes in cognitive-linguistic functioning in female athletes pre- and post-concussion. Nineteen collegiate athletes were asked to retell the story of Cinderella at two points in time: during a baseline screening prior to the start of the athletic season, and after sustaining a concussion. The pre- and post-concussion narratives were then compared on the basis of a number of microlinguistic and macrostructural measures. In addition, post-concussion narratives of women were compared to the post-concussion narratives of men from a previous study. Women’s pre- and post-concussion narratives differed significantly only in terms of total number of verbal disruptions, with a greater number pre-concussion than post-concussion. Men produced more verbal disruptions and tangents than women both pre- and post-concussion. Post-concussion, men produced greater levels of thematic density than women, although this discrepancy was not noted pre-concussion. Results are discussed in light of potential practice effects and possible gender bias of the Cinderella story.

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