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The Effects of Spoken Self-Disclosure Scripts on Nonaphasic Listeners' Perceptions of People with Aphasia

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of spoken self-disclosure scripts on nonaphasic listeners’ perceptions of people with aphasia (PWA). Self-disclosure is a tool that PWA can utilize in the event that they want a conversation partner to know of their communication disorder. However, limited research has been conducted on the effects of aphasia self-disclosure or whether it affects perceptions of PWA from neurotypical communication partners. If self-disclosure is determined to make a positive impact on a communicative interaction, it could be grounds for encouraging PWA who are interested to develop a self-disclosure script or use an aphasia identification card. Methods: 239 middle-aged adults participated in this study, which was a remote survey conducted on Qualtrics via Prolific. Aphasia self-disclosure scripts from two speakers (one female and one male), as well as neutral scripts from the same two speakers, were used as stimuli. After hearing either the self-disclosure or the neutral script, participants were asked to rate various speaker attributes (i.e., intelligence, confidence, friendliness, and kindness), as well as their own experience (i.e., engagement, patience, comfort, and ease of listening) while listening to the speaker. Results: Overall, the listeners who heard the aphasia self-disclosure scripts rated the speakers’ attributes more highly than the listeners who heard the script containing neutral information. In addition, those in the self-disclosure listening group rated their listening experience more highly than the group of participants who received the neutral information. The aphasia self-disclosure script appeared to have a larger effect on perceptions of the male speaker as compared to the female speaker. Conclusion: Nonaphasic listeners’ attitudes about PWA, as well as their listening experience, improve when spoken self-disclosure is involved in communication. Future research should examine the impact of self-disclosure on remote and in-person interactions between neurotypical individuals and PWA, as well as investigate the effectiveness of implementing virtual Communication Partner Training (CPT) programs.