Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Main Concept Analysis of Picture Description and Procedural Tasks in Patients with Huntington's Disease


Thesis (Electronic Copy Not Available)


Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic degenerative disease characterized by motor, cognitive-linguistic, and psychological deficits. These deficits may impact communication informativeness and efficiency. Limited studies examine the discourse comprehension and production in HD. One method that has been used to analyze the informativeness and efficiency of discourse in those with aphasia is main concept analysis (MCA; Hudspeth Dalton & Richardson, 2019), though has not been utilized for the HD population.

The present study analyzed two discourse tasks (i.e., picture description and procedural task) in persons with HD using MCA and an efficiency score measure. These measures were used to examine the informativeness and efficiency of discourse. Analyses examined the relationship between the informativeness and efficiency of discourse and discourse task/disease severity. Samples from 44 participants with HD were transcribed, coded, and scored according to standardized main concept lists for each respective task. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficients, and mixed-effects linear regression models are reported.

Results indicated that total main concept scores for both a picture description task and a procedural task decrease as the participant’s disease severity level increases, though a similar result for efficiency scores was not found. Increased efficiency in discourse for the picture description task was present compared to the procedural task. No significant difference in informativeness of discourse was found between the two tasks. This study is an initial step to a more time-efficient, systematic, and streamlined method for clinicians to assess discourse in persons with HD.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Sarah Diehl, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 73 pages)

Electronic copy is not available through UNI ScholarWorks.