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Elderspeak in Acute Hospitals? The Role of Context, Cognitive and Functional Impairment

  • Older adults are often exposed to elderspeak, a specialized speech register linked with negative outcomes. However, previous research has mainly been conducted in nursing homes without considering multiple contextual conditions. Based on a novel contextually-driven framework, we examined elderspeak in an acute general versus geriatric German hospital setting. Individuallevel information such as cognitive impairment (CI) and audio-recorded data from care interactions between 105 older patients (M = 83.2 years; 49% with severe CI) and 34 registered nurses (M = 38.9 years) were assessed. Psycholinguistic analyses were based on manual coding (k = .85 to k = .97) and computer-assisted procedures. First, diminutives (61%), collective pronouns (70%), and tag questions (97%) were detected. Second, patients’ functional impairment emerged as an important factor for elderspeak. Our study suggests that functional impairment may be a more salient trigger of stereotype activation than CI and that elderspeak deserves more attention in acute hospital settings.

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Author:Eva-Luisa SchnabelGND, Hans-Werner Wahl, Christina Streib, Thomas Schmidt
Parent Title (English):Research on Aging
Publisher:Sage Publishing
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2020
Date of Publication (online):2020/09/29
Tag:acute hospital; age stereotypes; cognitive impairment; contextual framework; elderspeak; functional status
GND Keyword:Altenbild; Alter; Geriatrie; Gesprochene Sprache; Pflegeheim; Stereotyp; Älterer Mensch
First Page:1
Last Page:12
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 420 Englisch
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Gesprächsforschung / Gesprochene Sprache
Linguistics-Classification:Psycholinguistik / Kognitive Linguistik
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt