Date of Award

Summer 1-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts In Speech-language Pathology Degree


Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Cox, Violet

Second Advisor

Mrs. Doreen Binnie

Third Advisor

Dr. Joanna DeMarco


BACKGROUND: Dysphagia is a swallowing impairment which effects all aspects of a person’s life. Clinicians who are more culturally competent may be better prepared to treat the effects of dysphagia on the patient’s overall quality of life to provide better treatment outcomes. PURPOSE: This is a qualitative study aimed at discovering the ways in which clinicians take client culture into account when developing assessment and treatment protocols for dysphagic clients. METHODS: Participants were recruited through a directory on the American Speech-Language Hearing Association website. Participants were sent a survey with questions in the domains of knowledge, skills, comfort, attitudes and education and training on cultural competence in dysphagia treatment through a Likert scale. Responses were arbitrarily weighted to develop descriptive statistics. Participant answers within each domain were analyzed in terms of years of experience, clinician ethnicity, clinician religion, number of languages spoken by the clinician, client ethnicity, and client religion. Results: Overall, clinicians within each of the different groups showed different amounts knowledge, skills, and comfort when it came to cultural competence in dysphagia treatment. Their attitudes toward different areas of culture may have been effected by work setting, education, or any number of other factors. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians take client culture into account when delivering the dysphagia diagnosis, but not when deciding on the best method of treatment. Future studies would benefit from a more concise survey and the criteria for inclusion that clinicians must treat dysphagia.