Strathprints logo
Strathprints Home | Open Access | Browse | Search | User area | Copyright | Help | Library Home | SUPrimo

Adult spoken discourse: the influences of age and education

Mackenzie, Catherine (2000) Adult spoken discourse: the influences of age and education. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 35 (2). pp. 269-285. ISSN 1368-2822

Full text not available in this repository. (Request a copy from the Strathclyde author)


Spoken discourse is regarded as an important component of communication assessment, but data on the discourse characteristics of the adult population, and in particular those who fall into the fastest growing section of the population (those aged over 75), are scant. Therefore, detection of deficit is commonly dependent on the assessor's opinion as to what constitutes normal performance. To determine the effects of age, education and gender on spoken discourse, the conversational interaction and picture description skills of 189 neurologically normal adults were examined. Conversation was appraised with reference to five parameters (initiation, topic maintenance, verbosity, turn taking, reference). Picture description was assessed for relevant content, length, efficiency and the inclusion of extraneous information Level of education did not affect conversational interaction but in picture description those not educated beyond minimal school leaving produced shorter and less complete descriptions. Picture description content and length were not affected by advancing age but the older elderly (aged 75 +) conveyed information with reduced efficiency. Conversational interaction style altered with advancing age, with some suggestion of change in the young elderly (age 60-74), but highly significant differences in respect of the old elderly. Gender had no effect on the parameters of conversation and no significant picture description differences were present in males and females though there were trends towards longer and higher content descriptions in females. The results have important diagnostic implications for those concerned with establishing whether pathology such as stroke has affected communication. On a wider scale, awareness of the effects of advancing age and limited education may facilitate successful communication for all who communicate with the public in a professional capacity.

Item type: Article
ID code: 31401
Keywords: communication, elderly, discourse , Other systems of medicine, Speech and Hearing
Subjects: Medicine > Other systems of medicine
Department: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) > School of Psychological Science and Health > Speech and Language Therapy
Depositing user: Pure Administrator
Date Deposited: 26 May 2011 18:20
Last modified: 05 Sep 2014 08:14

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item