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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Effects of literacy on semantic verbal fluency in an immigrant population

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OBJECTIVE: A significant impact of limited schooling and illiteracy has been found on numerous neuropsychological tests, which may partly be due to the ecological relevance of the tests in the context of illiteracy. The aims of this study were to compare the performance of illiterate and literate immigrants on two semantic criteria for the verbal fluency test, and examine the influence of acculturation on test performances.

METHOD: Performances of 20 cognitively unimpaired illiterate and 21 literate Turkish immigrants aged ≥50 years were compared on an animal and supermarket criterion for the semantic verbal fluency test. Also, the influence of acculturation on test performances was examined.

RESULTS: Significantly poorer performance of the illiterate compared to the literate group was found for the animal criterion, whereas no differences were found for the supermarket criterion that was considered more ecologically relevant for illiterate individuals. A significant interaction effect was found between the semantic criteria and literacy group, which was mainly related to a large effect of semantic criteria within the illiterate group. Adjusting for years of residence in Denmark and acculturation score did not affect this interaction effect.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our results are in line with previous studies comparing semantic fluency in illiterate and literate individuals. The results lend further support to the strong associations between literacy, semantic verbal fluency performance and ecological relevance of the semantic criterion and extend previous findings to immigrants with different cultural experiences related to the acculturation process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Volume23
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)578-90
Number of pages13
ISSN1382-5585
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 49302143