PURPOSE : The ultimate goal of anomia treatment should be to achieve gains in exemplars trained in the therapy session, as well as generalization to untrained exemplars and contexts. The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy of phonomotor treatment, a treatment focusing on enhancement of phonological sequence knowledge, against semantic feature analysis (SFA), a lexical-semantic therapy that focuses on enhancement of semantic knowledge and is well known and commonly used to treat anomia in aphasia.
METHOD : In a between-groups randomized controlled trial, 58 persons with aphasia characterized by anomia and phonological dysfunction were randomized to receive 56–60 hr of intensively delivered treatment over 6 weeks with testing pretreatment, posttreatment, and 3 months posttreatment termination.
RESULTS : There was no significant between-groups difference on the primary outcome measure (untrained nouns phonologically and semantically unrelated to each treatment) at 3 months posttreatment. Significant within-group immediately posttreatment acquisition effects for confrontation naming and response latency were observed for both groups. Treatment-specific generalization effects for confrontation naming were observed for both groups immediately and 3 months posttreatment; a significant decrease in response latency was observed at both time points for the SFA group only. Finally, significant within-group differences on the Comprehensive Aphasia Test–Disability Questionnaire (Swinburn, Porter, & Howard, 2004) were observed both immediately and 3 months posttreatment for the SFA group, and significant within-group differences on the Functional Outcome Questionnaire (Glueckauf et al., 2003) were found for both treatment groups 3 months posttreatment.
DISCUSSION : Our results are consistent with those of prior studies that have shown that SFA treatment and phonomotor treatment generalize to untrained words that share features (semantic or phonological sequence, respectively) with the training set. However, they show that there is no significant generalization to untrained words that do not share semantic features or phonological sequence features.