Date of Award

Fall 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Barbara Prudhomme White


Objective. This study presents an effort to understand both stress perception and physiologic responses related to expressive communication in individuals with expressive aphasia, acquired as the result of a stroke.

Method. Eight individuals with aphasia and five age-matched, healthy controls participated in a public communication task. Salivary cortisol and perception of stress and mood was measured on one day at home as well as during the ordering task.

Results. A significant difference between groups was found in diurnal cortisol levels in the evening, as well as a non-significant trend in the afternoon measure. Individuals in the aphasia group perceived higher stress around the communication event without evidence of physiologic stress.

Conclusion. In this small pilot study, adults with aphasia perceived a communication event as stressful, but this perception was not supported physiologically. There was a physiological difference in diurnal cortisol expression in individuals with aphasia, suggesting possible higher, chronic daily stress.