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  1. Filling in the Gaps: The Importance and Challenges of Measuring Social Communication Abilities following Traumatic Brain Injury. Margaret A. Struchen, PhD Baylor College of Medicine TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research)

  2. Research Team • Angelle M. Sander, Ph.D. • Charles F. Contant, Ph.D. • Laura Rosas, M.A. • Patty Terrell Smith, B.S. • Diana Kurtz, B.A. • Monique Mills, B.S. • Allison N. Clark, M.A. • Analida Hernandez Ingraham, B.S.

  3. This work was supported by funds from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education. (Grant #:H133G010152)

  4. Objectives • Learners will become familiar with the impact of social communication abilities on functional outcomes for persons with traumatic brain injury and their families. • Learners will understand the challenges inherent in developing clinical useful assessment tools to measure social communication abilities. • Learners will be able to describe 3 tools that can be used for measuring social communication abilities following TBI.

  5. Importance of Problem • Estimated incidence TBI • 1.4 million persons each year. (Langlois et al., 2004) • 50, 000 die • 235, 000 hospitalized • 1.1 million treated and released from ED • Disability related to TBI • 5.3 million persons with traumatic brain injury have a long-term or lifelong need for help to perform activities of daily living (Thurman et al., 2001) • About 40% of those hospitalized with TBI have at least one unmet need for services one year post-injury. (Corrigan et al., 2004) • Cost related to TBI • Estimated direct and indirect costs totaled an estimated $56.3 billion in the United States in 1995 (Thurman, 2001)

  6. Importance of Problem • Social isolation has been frequently reported • Social network size shown to decrease with time, increased reliance on family for emotional support and leisure • High rates of unemployment 1-10 years post-injury. • Decreased productivity and social isolation can have a negative impact on quality of life and on emotional functioning of persons with TBI

  7. Importance of Problem • Impairment in social skills is a common occurrence following TBI • Contributes to both decreased productivity and social isolation following TBI • Adequate assessment • Important step to develop empirically-based treatments • Identification of areas of functional impairment

  8. Social Communication • Holland (1977) noted that individuals with certain classic forms of aphasia “communicate” better than they talk. • Sohlberg & Mateer (1989) point out that the converse might be said of individuals with TBI: they talk better then they communicate.

  9. “If someone were to read uncritically, he or she would get the impression that social skills deficits are at the core of a vast majority of behavioral dysfunctions.” Bellack, 1979

  10. Terminology and Fields • Pragmatics (SLP/Linguistics) • Discourse Processes (SLP/Linguistics) • Functional Communication (SLP) • Social Problem Solving (Beh/Clin Psych) • Social Skills (Beh/Clin Psych) • Communicative Competence (Communication) • Social Communication Abilities

  11. Definition Social skills are the abilities to: “Express both positive and negative feelings in the interpersonal context without suffering consequent lack of social reinforcement. Such skill is demonstrated in a a large variety of interpersonal contexts and involved the coordinated delivery of appropriate verbal and nonverbal responses. In addition, the socially skilled individual is attuned to the realities of the situation and is aware when he is likely to be reinforced for his efforts.” Hersen & Bellack, 1977

  12. What are we talking about? • Social skills involve general interpersonal competencies as well as specific skills. • Involves communication behaviors – • Verbal • Nonverbal • Must be addressed in relation to specific contexts and communication partners.

  13. Models of Social Communication • McFall (1982) - Information processing model - included 3 stages: • Decoding: reception, perception, interpretation • Decision: response search, response test, response selection, repertoire search • Execution: execution, response, judgment • Wallace (1980) - Receiving-Processing-Sending • Ylvisaker et al. (1992) - 5-factor model of social skill: • Communication CognitionPersonal AppearanceKnowledge of selfSocial Environment

  14. Social Environment Awareness/Self-Evaluation Sensory Input Cognitive Abilities Social Communication Receptive Processing Expressive

  15. Impact on Outcomes • Emotional, social, and behavioral impairments more predictive of participant restriction following TBI than cognitive or physical impairments. • Such factors have been found to impact: • Friendships and social integration • Vocational Outcome • Perceived caregiver stress/burden

  16. Recurring Themes (Morton & Wehman, 1995) • Reduction in friendships and social support. • Lack of social opportunities to make new friendships. • Reduction in leisure activities. • Anxiety and depression found in large number, remains for prolonged period.

  17. Social Skills & Social Integration • Weddell et al. (1980): • Sample: 31 men, 13 women with severe TBI > 2 yrs. post-injury • Measure: Semi-structured interview (multiple constructs) • Findings: • Almost half had limited or no social contacts, few leisure interests 1-yr post-injury • Those with “personality change” significantly less likely to return to work, had fewer interests, more frequently bored, more dependent on family • Also, quality of friendships changed to more casual acquaintances. • Lezak (1987): • Sample: 42 men with varying degrees of injury severity – longitudinal study with 6 timepoints (every 6 months) • Measure: Portland Adaptability Inventory • Findings: Social dislocation and isolation continuing pattern over time in spite of some emotional and personality improvements (90% with problems with social contact at all timepoints)

  18. Social Skills & Social Integration • Bergland & Thomas (1991): • Sample: 12 adults with TBI (injury sustained in adolescence) • Measure: Global ratings via structured interview • Findings: • 92% of family members and persons with TBI reported that person with TBI had changes in friendships • 75% reported difficulty with making new friends.

  19. Social Skills & Social Integration • Snow et al. (1998): • Sample: • 24 persons with severe TBI • Assessed 3-6 months and at 2 years post-injury • Measure: Discourse analysis • Findings: Discourse measures related to: • Social integration as measured by CHART at follow-up. • Executive functioning/verbal memory as measured by FAS, Trails, and RAVLT.

  20. Social Skills & Employment Brooks et al. (1987): • Sample: • 134 persons with TBI • 2-7 yrs. post-injury • >6 hrs. coma and/or >48 hrs PTA • Measure: Responses of family members to structured interview (communication composite - 10 items) • Findings: Conversational skills major predictor of failure to return to work following severe TBI, in addition to personality problems, behavioral disorders, and cognitive status.

  21. Social Skills & Employment • Sale et al. (1991): • Sample: 29 persons employed (M = 5.8 mos.) and then separated from job • Measure: Qualitative approach • Identification of reasons for separation • Sorting by “experts” into themes • Results: Most common cause of job separation: interpersonal difficulties, social cue misperception, inappropriate verbalization.

  22. Social Skills & Employment • Wehman et al. (1993): • Sample: 39 persons with severe TBI referred to supported employment program • Measure: Ratings by employment specialists using Client Employment Screening Form • Findings: • Those difficult to employ and maintain jobs were those working in positions that required frequent work-related interactions. • Communication problems included: repeatedly asking for assistance, responding inappropriately to nonverbal social cues, and exhibiting unusual or inappropriate behaviors.

  23. Social Skills & Employment Godfrey et al. (1993): • Sample: 66 severe TBI assessed 6 mos.-3 yrs. post • Measures: • Informant rating scale • Behavioral measure of social skills functioning (behavioral rating of videotaped social interaction). • Findings: • Persons with TBI that failed to return to work were rated by informants as displaying significantly more adverse personality changes • Rated by trained judges to be significantly less socially skilled.

  24. Social Skills & Family Burden • Thomsen (1974;1984): • Sample: 50 adult severe TBI, 40 of that group at f/u • Measures: Structured interview • Findings: • Personality changes overshadowed cognitive and neurophysical function as determinants of family burden. • Loneliness is greatest difficulty after TBI. • Brooks & Aughton (1979): • Sample: 35 adult TBI, 35 family members • Measures: Objective and Subjective Burden scales • Findings: Behavioral and emotional changes outranked cognitive changes in contributing to family burden. • Numerous studies replicate these findings. • Communicative, behavioral, personality changes assessed by questionnaire/interview

  25. Social Skills & Family Burden • Godfrey et al. (1991): • Sample: • 18 community-dwelling persons with severe TBI • At least 8 months post-injury • Family member • Measure: Behavioral measurement of social skill with videotaped interaction of person with TBI and family member. • Findings: • Less socially skilled person with TBI showed less positive affect and required more effort from family member • Interpreted as greater family burden.

  26. Summary • Body of literature provides basis for hypothesizing that social communication functioning will account for a significant portion of variance in functional outcome. • Most studies with indirect evidence: measure emotional functioning, personality functioning, behavioral functioning. • For those which directly measure social skills/communication, most have used assessment instruments designed to measure a broad range of symptoms following TBI. • Self-report questionnaires with multiple physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral areas addressed. • Structured interview (often with social communication only a part) • Exception, work in New Zealand and Australia using behavioral measures.

  27. Gaps • Systematic and comprehensive examination of social skills has not been conducted in most research in TBI. • Many studies examine “psychosocial status, communication skills, emotional functioning, social skills, and related constructs” via a single item or group of items contained on self- or other-report measures. • Several studies have examined social communication skills by using discourse analysis. • Limitations global/micro measures for application to clinical setting. • Clinically, many rely on behavioral observation without structured rating scales, on clinical interview, and on self- or other-report questionnaires.

  28. How do you measure social communication?

  29. Methods • Aphasia Batteries or subtests • Functional Communication Batteries • Interview • Self/Other-Report Questionnaire • Behavioral Observation • Discourse Analysis • Role Play

  30. Aphasia Batteries • Studies of large TBI populations found classic language disorders relatively rare • Parallel interest in measuring /disability handicap • move to focus on effects of cognitive and psychosocial skills on outcomes

  31. Functional Communication Batteries • Developed from 1960s onward • Designed for use by speech language therapists, limited use by other professionals. • Inclusion of complex terminology (e.g., speech act pair analysis, turn-taking contingency) • Examples: • Functional Communication Profile (Sarno, 1969) • Pragmatics Profile of Early Communication Skills (Dewart & Sumner, 1988) • Profile of Communicative Appropriateness (Penn, 1985)

  32. Interview • Despite lack of convincing evidence of reliability or validity – interview is most frequently used method of assessment. • Standard problem-oriented behavioral interview (antecedents, behaviors, consequences): • Frequency of social interaction • Person’s level of satisfaction with frequency • Quality of social interaction • Description of satisfactory/unsatisfactory occasions • Extent to which person believes their behavior contributed to such outcomes • Description of own behaviors that were instrumental in determining such outcomes.

  33. Self/Other-Report Questionnaire • Vast number of self-report questionnaires developed for other populations are available. • Social anxiety (e.g., Social Avoidance and Distress Scale) • Assertiveness (e.g., Assertion Inventory) • Interpersonal behaviors (e.g., Dating and Assertion Questionnaire) • Questionnaires designed for use with TBI. • Frontal Lobe Personality Scale (FLOPS) • Dysexecutive Questionnaire (BADS) • La Trobe Communication Questionnaire (Douglas et al., 2000)*

  34. Behavioral Observation • Gold Standard for psychological assessment. • Use of rating scales/coding systems in various populations. • Heterosocial Skills Behavioral Checklist • Social Interaction Test • Molar vs. Molecular • Intermediate level of analysis involved with behavioral assessment: • Provides depth of information to identify target behaviors • Provides format that is practical to administer in a clinical setting. • Despite these advantages, relatively few studies have utilized such behavioral assessment.

  35. Rating Scales • Neurobehavioral Rating Scale(Levin et al., 1987):rating scale assessing behavioral symptoms in persons with TBI • Pragmatics Protocol(Prutting & Kirschner, 1983): measures 32 pragmatics skills rated in terms of appropriateness • Communication Performance Scale (Erlich & Sipes, 1985): adapted from Pragmatics Protocol and rates 13 behaviors; • (Erlich & Barry, 1989) - 9-point ratings of 6 behaviors. • Behaviorally Referenced Rating System of Intermediate Social Skills (BRISS)(Wallenger et al, 1985).: Intermediate level coding of 11 specific behavioral components (5 verbal/6 nonverbal) rated on 7-pt. Scale • Profile of Functional Impairments in Communication (PFIC): (Linscott, Knight, & Godfrey, 1996): Rating on 10 communication rules and specific behavior items.**

  36. Discourse Analysis • Discourse Analysis is concerned with how language users produce and interpret language in situated contexts and how these constructions relate to social and cultural norms, preferences, and expectations. • It focuses on how lexico-grammar and discourse systematically vary across social situations and at the same time help to define those situations. • Research in discourse analysis seeks to: • analyze the linguistic structures of different discourse genres • describe conversational sequences • examine speech activities • describe oral and literate registers • analyze stance (UCLA Department of Applied Linguistics & TESL)

  37. Role Play Assessments • Examples: • Behavioral Assertion Test – Revised (Eisler et al., 1975) • Assessment of Interpersonal Problem-Solving Skills** (Donahoe et al., 1990) • Simulated Social Interaction Test (Curran et al., 1980; Curran, 1982) • Vary by Social Behaviors Assessed • Assertiveness • Social Skills description, solution generation, and enactment • Social Skill and anxiety

  38. Challenges • Definitional Issues • Comprehensiveness • Clinical Feasibility • Variance in “Normal” Population • Contextual Issues

  39. Definitional Issues • Various disciplines • SLP • Linguistics • Psychology • Different terminologies • Clarity and collaboration

  40. Comprehensiveness • Models of social communication • Receptive • Processing • Sending • Most measures utilized focus on expressive or sending aspects • How are we addressing receptive/processing social communication skills?

  41. Clinical Feasibility • Instruments must be: • User-friendly • Reliable • Timely • Portable ?? (for context) • Reliable • Interrater • Test-Retest • Internally consistent

  42. Variance in “Normal” Population • Great challenge – enormous diversity of “normal” performance. • Community • Context • Insufficient normative data on virtually all measures utilized.

  43. Addressing Context • Outpatient NP clinic setting - limited flexibility to address context • Role-play • Varied communication samples • Rehabilitation setting or ongoing treatment setting – can address with different communication partners, settings, and situations. • Portability of rating scales like PFIC are useful

  44. RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS • Participants with TBI: • 123 adults with TBI recruited from participants in TIRR TBI Model System study. • Acute medical care at Level One Trauma Center (BTGH or Hermann Hospital) • Inpatient rehabilitation at TIRR • Complicated Mild to Severe TBI • > 18 years of age • > 1 year post-injury • Informed consent and release of medical records to document TBI.

  45. RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS • Exclusionary Criteria: • Age < 18 years • Pre-existing neurological disorder affecting cognitive functioning (e.g., stroke, dementia, etc.) • Pre-existing severe psychiatric disorder (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.) • Controls: • Matched by age, education, and gender • Family/Friend: • LCQ Other form; Q’aires on life satisfaction, stress, caregiver appraisal

  46. Measures of Social Communication: • Receptive Aspects: • FLORIDA AFFECT BATTERY (FAB) • ASSESSMENT OF INTERPERSONAL PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS (AIPSS) • Processing Aspects: • ASSESSMENT OF INTERPERSONAL PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS (AIPSS) • Expressive Aspects: • ASSESSMENT OF INTERPERSONAL PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS (AIPSS) • PROFILE OF FUNCTIONAL IMPAIRMENTS IN COMMUNICATION (PFIC) • DICE GAME (DICE) • Questionnaire: • LATROBE COMMUNICATION QUESTIONNAIRE (LCQ)

  47. Receptive Aspects • Florida Affect Battery (Bowers et al., 1991): • Affect Discrimination • Affect Selection • Matching Affect • Emotional Prosody Discrimination • Conflicting Prosody • Matching Prosody to Emotional Face • Assessment of Interpersonal Problem Solving Skills: • Problem Identification

  48. Florida Affect Battery(N=71) *** *** *** *** *** ***p < .0001

  49. Processing Aspects • Assessment of Interpersonal Problem Solving Skills (Donahoe et al., 1990): • Generation of problem-solving solutions

  50. Expressive Aspects • Assessment of Interpersonal Problem Solving Skills (Donahoe et al., 1990): • Quality of verbal skills • Quality of nonverbal skills • Overall quality of response • Profile of Functional Impairments in Communication (Linscott, Knight, & Godfrey, 1996): • Rating on 10 communication rules and 85 specific behavior items. • Dice Game (McDonald & Pierce, 1995): • Inclusion of essential propositions • Efficiency of procedural sample