Assessing Physiological Stress Responses to Word Retrieval in Individuals with Aphasia: A Preliminary Study

Yu Chun Chih, Meng Ju Tsai, Julie A.G. Stierwalt, Leonard L. Lapointe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Word retrieval difficulty can be distressing for individuals with aphasia. However, physiological stress responses to word retrieval are relatively unstudied. This study aims to measure the physiological response (i.e., heart rate and respiratory rate) and perceived stress in individuals with aphasia during a naming task to understand whether word retrieval may be a stressor to them. Method: An aphasia group (n = 7) and a healthy group (n = 38) participated in 4 experimental conditions, including rest, counting, and high-frequency and low-frequency word conditions, while their physiological parameters were measured throughout the sessions. Stress ratings were also obtained for each condition. Results: Significant differences in heart rate were found while participants were engaged in speech and/or language tasks, compared to the rest condition, for both groups. Significant differences in respiratory rate were found between the rest and low-frequency word conditions in the aphasia group. No significant difference was found in heart rate between 2 groups, but a difference in respiratory rate was found between 2 groups in the low-frequency word condition. There were some discrepancies between stress level and physiological parameters. Conclusions: Individuals with aphasia perceived greater stress in the naming tasks, however, the perceived stress was not necessarily parallel to the physiological parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-145
Number of pages12
JournalFolia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Aphasia
  • Linguistic tasks
  • Physiological stress
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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