Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Communication Sciences & Disorders (MSCSD)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Health Sciences


Communication Sciences & Disorders

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Cramer

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Meulenbroek


Background: Social communication disorders are a common outcome from traumatic brain injury (TBI). This social communication disorder can be seen through impolite speech acts during conversation. While politeness is a social norm for workplace discourse, instances of impoliteness may have poor consequences. This research explores the use of impoliteness in persons with TBI within computer generated work-based conditions.

Methods: Language samples from the Voicemail Elicitation Task (VET) and Feedback/Advice Spoken Task (FAST) were transcribed word-for-word. Transcripts from all 62 participants were coded for impoliteness using a developed Impoliteness Codebook and were analyzed to identify significant differences in the number of impoliteness and politeness markers between TBI participants and controls.

Results: The 37 TBI participants demonstrated a total of 27 instances of impoliteness, across 11 different codes. The 25 control participants demonstrated a total of only 6 instances of impoliteness, across on 4 different codes. There was no demonstrated relationship between politeness markers per minute (PMpM) and the presence of impoliteness. The insignificance of these findings may be attributed to the small sample size of this pilot study.

Discussion: It is evident from this pilot study that there are a higher number of instances of impoliteness, as well as more variety in the types of codes, in the TBI participants. It is apparent that it is less about the number of impolite speech acts of those within the workplace, but more about the severity of the speech acts themselves that would have greater significance clinically and in the workplace.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)