Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Supraja Anand, Ph.D.

Committee Member

R. Michael Barker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mary Pyfrom, M.A.


Psychosocial Factors, Speech pathology students, Vocal fatigue, vocal loading tasks


Background: To date, research has primarily focused on the subjective and objective measurement of vocal fatigue in professional voice users such as teachers and singers. However, these studies have not examined the effects of psychosocial factors (e.g., lack of sleep, emotional distress) leading to vocal fatigue in depth. Much like the professional voice users, students seeking to be professional voice users may face several psychosocial difficulties, may also experience similar vocal demands, and may develop vocal fatigue.

Goal: The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between psychosocial factors and vocal fatigue in students majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Methods: During this study, graduate and undergraduate students completed a survey consisting of questions on employment, general health, vocal demands, and several standardized measures, (e.g., Beck’s Depression Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale, and the Vocal Fatigue Index). Vocal fatigue was induced using an adapted LingWAVES vocal loading task (~30-min duration) where participants had to meet a specific intensity goal as well as modify their pitch and voice quality. Recordings of phonation and passage reading were also made pre- and post-loading to evaluate the effects of vocal exertion. The VFI score and two objective measures (fundamental frequency and sound pressure level) were acquired and analyzed in addition to the scores from the surveys.

Results: Results revealed that all students were moderately stressed, while graduate students reported more depression. All students demonstrated vocal fatigue in both subjective and objective outcome measures. Moderate-high correlation between total psychosocial scores and VFI as well as phonation Sound Pressure Level (SPL) were observed.