Research Brief

Psycholinguistic Screening for Cognitive Decline in Cancer Survivors: A Feasibility Study

Kristine Williams

Jamie S. Myers

Jinxiang Hu

Alana Manson

Sally L. Maliski

psycholinguistic screening, cognition, speech analysis, cancer treatment, cognitive decline
ONF 2021, 48(5), 474-480. DOI: 10.1188/21.ONF.474-480

Objectives: To test the feasibility of using psycholinguistic speech analysis as a proxy for cognitive function in men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

Sample & Setting: Audio-recorded speech samples were collected from 13 men enrolled in a parent study at the University of Kansas Cancer Center in Kansas City.

Methods & Variables: Audio-recorded speech samples, collected from clinical interviews and in response to a prompt question during the parent study at two time points, were evaluated to determine feasibility relationships between neurocognitive and psycholinguistic measures.

Results: Correlations between neurocognitive and psycholinguistic measures were identified for prompted speech, but the strength of relationships varied between time points. No relationships were identified in clinical interview speech samples.

Implications for Nursing: Feasibility was demonstrated for recording, transcribing, and analyzing speech from clinical interviews, and results suggest relationships between neurocognitive and psycholinguistic measures in prompted speech. If validated, psycholinguistic assessments may be used to assess cognitive function in cancer survivors. Advances in natural language processing may provide opportunities for automated speech analyses for cancer treatment–related cognitive decline.

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