Authors: McDonald S, Togher L, Tate R, Randall R, English T, Gowland A
Title: A randomised controlled trial evaluating a brief intervention for deficits in recognising emotional prosody following severe ABI
Source: Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 2013 23(2):267-286
Year: 2013
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 08/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - Y
Baseline comparability - Y
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - Y
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Many adults with acquired brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have impaired emotion perception. Impaired perception of emotion in voice can occur independently to facial expression and represents a specific target for remediation. No research to date has addressed this. The current study used a randomised controlled trial to examine the efficacy of a short treatment (three x two-hour sessions) for improving the ability to recognise emotional prosody for people with acquired brain injury, mostly TBI. Ten participants were allocated to treatment and 10 to waitlist. All participants remained involved for the duration of the study in the groups to which they were allocated. There were no significant treatment effects for group, but analyses of individual performances indicated that six of the treated participants made demonstrable improvements on objective measures of prosody recognition. The reasons why some participants showed improvements while others did not, was not obvious. Improvements on objective lab-based measures did not generalise to relative reports of improvements in everyday communicative ability. Nor was there clear evidence of long-term effects. In conclusion, treatment of emotional prosody was effective in the short-term for half of the participants. Further research is required to determine what conditions are required to optimise generalisability and longer-term gains.

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