Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Brenda M. Wilson


A blast injury (BI) is caused by a wave from a bomb which damages organs, specifically the brain. Once soldiers/veterans have sustained a BI, they will most likely present with a cognitive-communication deficit resulting from the traumatic brain injury. Language related symptoms are most apparent in written language skills due to the high level of cognitive function required for writing. This study investigated written discourse skills following a BI. Written discourse samples were collected from four participants and four controls. A description of the Butcher Picture from the Aphasia Diagnostic Profile was analyzed for productivity, efficiency, and local and global coherence. The Stroop Test, RBANS, and FAVRES were used to assess cognitive skills. The first research question examined if written discourse skills of college students with BI were different from controls. Participants were less productive, used fewer words for each idea, and writing received lower ratings for topic maintenance and logical progression of ideas when compared to controls. While differences were not significant, group means for efficiency (number of words per idea) and local coherence (logical progression of ideas) approached significance. The second research question investigated the relationship between cognitive test scores and written discourse measures. Spearman correlations were computed for each discourse measure and cognitive measures. Significant correlations were found between the FAVRES Time score and written productivity, the FAVRES Rationale score and written efficiency and between the Stroop Time score and written efficiency. Findings were then compared to previous research on the written discourse skills of participants with nonblast related TBI's and cognitive skills of individuals with a BI. The current study was in agreement with previous research.