Research Reports - Expressive writing in people with traumatic brain injury and learning disability

NeuroRehabilitation. 2014 Jan 1;34(1):29-37

Wheeler L(1), Nickerson S(1), Long K(1), Silver R(2)

BACKGROUND: There is a dearth of systematic studies of expressive writing
disorder (EWD) in persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It is unclear if TBI
survivors' written expression differs significantly from that experienced by
persons with learning disabilities. It is also unclear which cognitive or
neuropsychological variables predict problems with expressive writing (EW) or the
EWD.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the EW skill, and the EWD in adults with mild
traumatic brain injuries (TBI) relative to those with learning disabilities (LD).
It also determined which of several cognitive variables predicted EW and EWD.
METHODS: Principle Component Analysis (PCA) of writing samples from 28 LD
participants and 28 TBI survivors revealed four components of expressive writing
skills: Reading Ease, Sentence Fluency, Grammar and Spelling, and Paragraph
Fluency.
RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the LD and TBI groups on
any of the expressive writing components. Several neuropsychological variables
predicted skills of written expression. The best predictors included measures of
spatial perception, verbal IQ, working memory, and visual memory.
CONCLUSIONS: TBI survivors and persons with LD do not differ markedly in terms of
expressive writing skill. Measures of spatial perception, visual memory, verbal
intelligence, and working memory predict writing skill in both groups. Several
therapeutic interventions are suggested that are specifically designed to improve
deficits in expressive writing skills in individuals with TBI and LD.
 

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