Carrie Potts

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Special Education

Committee Member

Sarah M. Ginsberg, Ed.D., CCC-SLP, Chair

Committee Member

Willie P. Cupples, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Flora Hoodin, Ph.D.


In light of the growing prevalence of dysphagic patients on Speech-Language Pathologists’ caseloads and the frequent prescription of thickened liquids as a treatment strategy (Garcia, Chambers & Molander, 2005; Low, Wyles, Wilkinson & Sainsbury, 2001; Robbins, Nicosia, Hind, Gill, Blanco, & Logemann, 2002), our limited understanding of the factors that contribute to patient adherence presents a significant challenge to the management of dysphagia. The purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand the decisions patients make regarding dysphagia recommendations. Drawing upon adherence/compliance research from the field of behavioral medicine, the results of this study revealed a complex interplay of factors that lead to dysphagic patient adherence (or non-adherence) with thickened liquid recommendations. Finally, the data suggest directions for future research and potential clinical implications for improving patient adherence.