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Verbal inhibition and stuttering in adults (Treleaven & Coalson, 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-17, 19:37 authored by Shanley B. Treleaven, Geoffrey A. Coalson
Purpose: Adults who stutter (AWS) often attempt, with varying degrees of success, to suppress their stuttered speech. The ability to effectively suppress motoric behavior after initiation relies on executive functions such as nonselective inhibition. Although previous studies found that AWS were slower to inhibit manual, button-press response than adults who do not stutter (AWNS), research has yet to confirm a consistent relationship between manual and verbal inhibition. No study has examined verbal inhibition ability in AWS. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to compare verbal response inhibition between AWS and AWNS, and compare verbal response inhibition to both the overt stuttering and the lived experience of stuttering.
Method: Thirty-four adults (17 AWNS, 17 AWS) completed one manual and three verbal stop-signal tasks. AWS were assessed for stuttering severity (Stuttering Severity Instrument–Fourth Edition: SSI-4) and experience with stuttering (Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience With Stuttering [OASES]).
Results: Results indicate no correlation between manual and verbal inhibition for either group. Generalized linear mixed-model analyses suggested no significant group differences in manual or verbal inhibition. Manual and verbal inhibition did not predict SSI-4 in AWS. However, verbal inhibition was uniquely associated with OASES scores.
Conclusion: Although underlying manual and verbal inhibition was comparable between AWS and AWNS, verbal inhibition may be linked to the adverse experience of stuttering rather than the overt symptoms of stuttering severity.

Supplemental Material S1. Detailed SSI-4 and OASES data for AWS participants.

Supplemental Material S2. Visual depiction of the stop-signal task created by Verbruggen (2019).

Supplemental Material S3. Properties of stimuli chosen for novel, image-naming verbal stop-signal tasks.

Supplemental Material S4. Description of dependent variables.

Supplemental Material S5. Excluded SSRT values.

Supplemental Material S6. Overall verbal stop-signal task data.

Supplemental Material S7. Average stop-signal task data.

Supplemental Material S8. Regression model results predicting verbal SSRT.

Treleaven, S. B., & Coalson, G. A. (2021). Verbal response inhibition in adults who stutter. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


This research was funded in part by Grant R21DC018109- 01A1 (Inhibition and Working Memory Capacity in Adults Who Stutter) to Geoffrey Coalson from the National Institutes of Health and the Distinguished Dissertation Award from Louisiana State University to Shanley Treleaven.