Discourse compression of elderly adults in a dyadic context

Saling, L, Woodcock, K and Saling, M 2015, 'Discourse compression of elderly adults in a dyadic context', Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, vol. 70, no. 2, pp. 256-261.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Discourse compression of elderly adults in a dyadic context
Author(s) Saling, L
Woodcock, K
Saling, M
Year 2015
Journal name Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume number 70
Issue number 2
Start page 256
End page 261
Total pages 6
Publisher Oxford University Press
Abstract Objectives: Elderly adults demonstrate a reduced ability to produce increasingly concise and coherent discourse with repetition when compared with their younger counterparts. We explored whether discourse efficiency and quality would increase with story retelling in a dialogic context. Method: Participants were 30 elderly adults aged between 65 and 91 years (M = 77.03, SD = 9.214). Fifteen participants were paired with an elderly adult (EE group) and 15 with a young adult (EY group). Within their dyads, participants constructed a story from a series of cartoon frames. Variables analyzed were narrative duration, word count, fluency, and cohesion. Narratives were repeated 3 times. Results: A compression index was calculated for each variable. For fluency and duration, the compression index for the EY group was significantly higher than for the EE group. While the EY group produced more coherent discourse with repetition, discourse cohesion did not improve with retelling for the EE group. Discussion: A young conversational partner offers a model of consistently compressed and coherent discourse for their older interlocutor. Producing discourse in tandem with a younger adult may thus support older adults' use of social platforms (such as SMS or Facebook) that require a highly compressed message.
Subject Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Keyword(s) Discourse compression
Story retelling
DOI - identifier 10.1093/geronb/gbu087
Copyright notice © The Author(s) 2014.
ISSN 1079-5014
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