Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. J. B. Orange

Second Advisor

Professor L. Klinger

Third Advisor

Dr. G. Warr-Leeper


The goal of the current study was to obtain detailed information on functional communication in traumatic brain injury (TBI) gathered from individuals with TBI, their significant others (SO) and experienced speech-language pathologists (SLP). Fifteen participants (5 TBI, 5 SO, and 5 SLP) completed a 139-item questionnaire to obtain their ratings on functional communication features in traumatic brain injury. Results indicated that individuals with TBI, their significant others and speech-language pathologists identified a high number of occurrences of specific functional communication problems and skills of individuals with TBI within the questionnaire. The speech-language pathologists, as a whole, achieved the highest percentage of overall agreement between themselves for questions representing functional communication, with the significant other group obtaining similar levels. Individuals with TBI responded with less agreement, although in general, all three group functional communication scores for questions were comparable. There were high levels of overlapped ratings among the groups within categories of the questionnaire. Themes identified in cognitive interviewing included positive vs. negative wording, use of context-dependent information, format issues, vocabulary and wording, among others. This study produced important findings to guide the future systematic development of a functional communication questionnaire designed specifically for individuals with TBI.



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