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Appalachian Student Research Forum

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Division II

Abstracts Submitted:Division II - Graduate students (1-2 years) - Social & Behavioral Sciences


Marni Adams, Tina Davis, Jennifer Norby, Whitney Rothrock, and Lynn Williams, Department of Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, College of Public and Allied Health, Johnson City, TN 37614

With the recent No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislative act (PL 107-110, 2001), educators are increasingly interested in addressing early pre-requisite skills as a means to prevent later academic difficulties. One such area that has recently gained attention is emergent literacy because of its important role in reading acquisition (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). The purpose of this study was to investigate a shared storybook training program for low income parents of preschool-aged children. Weekly parent training sessions were held for 5 weeks in which parents were taught questioning and interaction strategies to incorporate during storybook readings with their children to facilitate their emergent literacy skills. The study included eight children from a Title One preschool and their parents. Training consisted of five weekly 90-minute training sessions that focused on phonological awareness, print awareness, and alphabet knowledge. First order effects in terms of changes in parent questioning and interaction behaviors were evaluated on pre- and post-training videotapes of parents reading a book to their child. Second order effects were also examined with regard to the children's outcomes from pre-to post-testing that examined a broad spectrum of preliteracy, speech, and language skills. Paired t-tests were used to compare pre-and post-training parent variables, as well as to compare children's pre-and post-test scores. Results indicated that parents made significant increases in their initiations and responses, which also resulted in a significant decrease in their Mean Length of Turns. These first order changes also resulted insignificant second order effects in children's significant increases in responses during storybook reading, as well as in their preliteracy skills. With the exception of mean length of utterance, there were no differences in children's oral language, speech, or receptive language skills, which support the modularity of emergent literacy skills.


Anne Cross, Kelly Merrell, Amanda Lambert, Brittani Bartley, Michelle Wagoner, and Lynn Williams, Department of Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, College of Public and Allied Health, Johnson City, TN 37614

Research in the area of prediction in phonological impairment has focused primarily on identifying variables that will predict which children will normalize with and without intervention. Yet there is limited research on variables that are predictive of individuals who will change as a result of intervention. To date, no predictor variables have been identified that are associated with phonological change that occurs as a result of intervention. The purpose of this study was to examine two variables, stimulability and Percent Correct Consonants (PCC), as potential predictor variables in treatment outcomes, as determined by a measure of global system-wide change, Percentage of Correct Underlying Representations (PCUR). Ten children (mean age =4 years, 9 months) with moderate to severe phonological impairments who had received phonological intervention served as the participants in this study. A multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationship of the predictor variables, PCC and stimulability, to change in PCUR (criterion variable). The results indicated that neither stimulability or PCC played a signicant role in the variability of PCUR change. Together they accounted for 11% of the variability in PCUR change. Although stimulability and PCC did not produce a change in PCUR, our results indicated that stimulability was related to PCC scores, which were obtained prior to intervention. PCC scores were found to be significantly higher for participants' stimulable sounds (mean=61.9%) compared to participants' non-stimulable sounds (mean=37.5%).


Kelley Lewis, Kelly King, Melanie OBrien, Danielle Py, Department of Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, College of Public and Allied Health, Johnson City, TN 37614

Speech-language pathologists are challenged with providing children with treatment that results in the greatest amount of improvement in the least amount of time. To aid in this challenge, we examined how quickly and efficaciously seven children with a specific language impairment (SLI) learned verbs compared to seven children with typical language (TL) development. Each child was taught the meaning and use of six nonsense verbs. Nonsense verbs were used to ensure that the target verbs had never been heard by any of the participants before the experiment and allowed us to control verb exposure. Each participant received up to four training sessions of 30-minutes each. During these sessions, the examiner utilized naturalistic conversational techniques and play activities with carefully selected sets of toys that corresponded to the meaning of the target words. The training sessions were ended when children demonstrated 100% accuracy in their understanding of the verbs and 50% accuracy in their production during a probe task. All sessions were audio-recorded and the experimenters and childs utterances were reliably coded. Analysis revealed that the two groups received the same input from the experimenter in terms of the number and type of exposures to the verbs. We examined the childrens nonsense verb productions for their rate and quality. Rate of verb acquisition was measured by counting: 1) the number of sessions required before the criteria for learning was met; 2) the number of exposures before childs first spontaneous production of each target verb; and 3) the number of exposures before childs first elicited production of each target verb. Quality of verb acquisition was measured by counting: 1) the number of alternative real verbs substituted for a nonsense verb and 2) the accuracy of transitive target verb usage. Although the results were not statistically significant for any of the measures tested, there was a trend for children with SLI to learn the target nonsense verbs more slowly but just as


Perna, M.K.; Smith, K.J.; Brown, R.W. Dept. of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614 USA.

Past data from this laboratory has demonstrated that neonatal quinpirole (dopamine D2 agonist) treatment produces long-term dopamine D2 receptor supersensitization. In this study, the offspring of four male-female breeder pairs were administered one daily i.p. injection of quinpirole (1 mg/kg) or saline from postnatal days 1-21 (P1-21) and raised to adulthood. Beginning on P65, rats were i.p. administered with either nicotine (0.5 mg/kg free base) or saline every second day and tested 10 min later in a locomotor arena. Groups were divided based on neonatal drug treatment (Quinpirole, Saline) and drug treatment in adulthood (Nicotine, Saline), and trials were aggregated into three blocks of three trials each. Analysis of horizontal line crossings after drug treatment in adulthood revealed a significant main effect of adulthood drug treatment F(1,26)= 8.80, p<.001; a significant interaction of Neonatal Treatment x Trial Block F(2,26) = 3.14, p<.05 and a significant interaction of Adulthood Treatment x Trial Block F(2,26) = 30.6, p<.001. By the last block of trials, the group receiving neonatal quinpirole treatment and nicotine in adulthood demonstrated significantly higher levels of activity than any other group, and the group receiving neonatal saline and adulthood nicotine treatment demonstrated increased activity relative to saline controls. An analysis of vertical rearing revealed a significant main effect of drug treatment in adulthood F(1,26)=5.8, p<.02 and a significant Neonatal drug treatment x Trial Block interaction F(1,26)=3.6, p<.03. Animals given nicotine demonstrated an overall decrease in vertical rearing, and animals given neonatal quinpirole treatment demonstrated a decrease in vertical rearing over trials, a possible manifestation of increased anxiety in these animals. An investigation is currently underway to analyze changes in receptor binding through autoradiography.


Dallas Mass, Amanda Lawlor, Beverly Brady, Sarah Ingle, and Nancy J. Scherer, Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614

Background: Children at risk for speech and language impairments are often screened during the first year of life in order to detect early signs of delay. However, professionals must often rely on parent report to assess early speech and language milestones (Scherer & DAntonio, 1995). During the first year of life one of the critical milestones is the acquisition of babbling. Babbling is thought to be requisite to sound use in words (Stoel-Gammon, 1992). Parent recollection of babbling milestones have not been shown to be reliable, leaving observation in a clinical or home setting as the alternative (Daughtry, 1998). However, clinical monitoring is costly and time-consuming for professionals and parents. Purpose: This study compares two methods of obtaining a sample of early babbling; a video recording made by a professional during a home visit and a video recording provided by the parents. Participants: Twenty, typically developing, 6-month-old children participated in this study, 10 in the home visit condition and 10 in the parent-recorded condition. Procedures: In the home visit video condition, the professional taped the children interacting with the mother as part of a speech and language screening. In the parent-recorded condition, the parent was instructed to record their child at a time the child was most vocal. Additional instructions were provided specifying arrangement of the environment, distance from the camera and background noise. Both sets of 30-minute samples were analyzed for; (a) the number of vocalizations obtained, (b) a measure of babbling complexity, Mean Babbling Level (MBL), and (c) the number of consonant sounds used by the children. Results: The results indicate statistically significant group differences (p<0.05) in favor of the parent recorded video samples for most measures using t-test comparisons. Conclusions: These findings suggest that parent recorded videos provide a low-cost, effective method of obtaining information on early babbling development. Furthe


Heather Barrow, Department of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, College of Public and Allied Health, Johnson City, TN 37614

Tiejian Wu, Departments of Public Health and Family Medicine, Colleges of Public and Allied Health and Medicine, Johnson City, TN 37614

In order to develop more effective health education programs for youth living in rural areas of East Tennessee, the health-risk behaviors of this population needed to be investigated. The data that was collected from this study was compared with the 2001 National Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data to assess the problems in the area. A survey was given to 234 9th grade students that were enrolled in a required Wellness class. The questionnaire contained sixty questions that addressed general health, smoking, drinking alcohol, eating behavior, exercise, and body image. The results showed that smoking among 9th grade teens in rural areas of East Tennessee was significantly higher than national levels (e.g. Smoke in 10 or more days during past 30 days - 20.6% vs. 11.9% nationally). Alcohol drinking among the 9th grade teens in rural areas was also significantly higher than national levels (e.g. Drink in 10 or more days during past 30 days 8.5% vs. 5.3%). Unhealthy diet and physical inactivity were also investigated and were more prevalent than the national levels (e.g. Not drink fruit juice during past 7 days 32.1% vs. 16.6% and Not vigorous exercise during past 7 days 15.0% vs. 11.2%). Lastly, the perception of being overweight and weight control among the 9th grade teens showed that the levels were higher than the national levels (e.g. Self perceived overweight 34.2% vs. 28.8%). In conclusion, the results show that health risk behaviors including smoking, drinking, and unhealthy diet are more prevalent in the rural community. New programs to address these problems need to be developed.


Kimberly Webb, RD and Elizabeth Lowe, MS, RD, LDN Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Business and Technology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614

The purpose of this study was to increase knowledge of the effects of prenatal substance use and to introduce the special nutritional needs of pregnancy to high school students. This was done through an education program in two counties in a region with high rates of low birth weight and prenatal substance abuse. The study also compared the efficacy of the educational program being delivered by a registered dietitian or by a group of high school students trained by the dietitian. One hundred six high school students participated in the program and took identical pre- and post tests. The tests were compared to measure knowledge gain and were analyzed by paired t-tests. All respondents demonstrated a statistically significant increase in knowledge. The group receiving instruction from the registered dietitian and the group receiving instruction from the trained high school students demonstrated virtually identical gains in knowledge as measured by the testing instruments. Integrating the program within the curriculum of a ninth grade Wellness class provided an effective way to reach a large number of students at an appropriate age in the geographical area where a need exists.

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