Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders: Speech-Language Pathology

First Advisor

Lisa Vinney


Alterations to the voice that occur in older adulthood include changes in vocal fold mass, inadequate approximation of the vocal folds, tremor, and air loss (Lundy, Silva, Casiano, Lu, & Xue, 1998). Many of the vocal changes that occur in older adults, those aged 65 and older (Colby & Ortman, 2015), may affect their social and emotional well-being. While some persons are not affected by life span vocal changes, others suffer from co-occuring depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal (Epstein, Hirani, Stygall, & Newman, 2009; Mirza, Ruiz, Baum, & Staab, 2003; Monini, Filippi, Baldini, & Barbara, 2015). There have been numerous studies examining the relationship between vocal and emotional changes; yet no studies, to date, have analyzed the relationship between older adults’ perception of vocal change and self-esteem. Therefore, this research explored the association between perceptions of age-related voice problems and self esteem in older adults. This research also examined gender differences regarding self-esteem levels and vocal concerns, and explored participants’ cognition levels, awareness of vocal change, and awareness of vocal resources.

A total of 31 participants completed a questionnaire packet including a demographics questionnaire, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), Voice Handicap Index (VHI), researcher-created Voice Self-Esteem Scale (VSES), and the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE).The VHI examined perceived vocal function and handicap while the RSES quantified perceived self-esteem level. The VSES measured voice-related self-esteem and the SAGE screened individuals for cognitive impairment. The results indicated that self-esteem, age, and perceived vocal function were not significantly correlated. However, the majority of the participants scored below the criteria for a mild vocal handicap on the VHI, indicating that participants, as a whole, had minimal vocal concerns. Most participants passed the SAGE cognition screener, indicating that their self-report responses on the demographics questionnaire, VHI, and RSES were likely not influenced by compromised cognition. Men scored higher on all scored questionnaires, yet none of the differences were statistically significant. Thus, it appears that males and females had statistically similar experiences regarding vocal change and levels of self-esteem during this phase of life. Participants who had experienced health conditions that had potential to affect the voice were more likely to indicate an awareness of lifespan vocal changes and healthcare resources to address vocal change. Lastly, the VSES exhibited preliminary evidence of validity. Future studies should refine this scale to best capture voice-related selfesteem

in older adults.


Imported from ProQuest Berto_ilstu_0092N_11130.pdf


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