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Impact of stuttering as a function of sex and age (Samson et al., 2022)

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posted on 18.11.2022, 22:43 authored by Ineke Samson, Ellika Schalling, Agneta Herlitz, Elisabeth Lindström, Anders Sand

Purpose: We aimed to cross-sectionally describe the impact of stuttering on persons who stutter (PWS): children, adolescents, and young adults. Based on previous research on PWS and psychosocial health in the general population, we hypothesized that (a) the adverse impact of stuttering in PWS would be larger among adolescents than children and young adults and that (b) females, especially adolescent females, would report being more adversely impacted by their stuttering than males.

Method: We pooled samples of Swedish PWS, obtaining 162 individuals (75 females and 87 males), aged 7–30 years. We measured the impact of stuttering using age-relevant versions of the Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering (OASES). The relationship between OASES score, age, and sex was described using a polynomial model with an interaction term between age and sex to allow for potential differences between females and males’ age-related curves.

Results: The average trends were that (a) the impact of stuttering was greater for the adolescents than for the children and young adults, and (b) females, especially adolescent females, were on average more impacted by their stuttering than males. Taking self-reported speech fluency into account did not change this pattern.

Conclusions: In line with findings on psychosocial health, communication attitude, and self-esteem in the general population, the impact of stuttering seems to be particularly adverse among adolescents, especially female adolescents. Thus, clinicians need to be aware of the risk that young girls who stutter may develop a negative attitude to speech and communication, and this should also be communicated to caregivers and teachers.

Supplemental Material S1. Specifications, comparisons, and diagnostics for the regression models used.

Samson, I., Schalling, E., Herlitz, A., Lindström, E., & Sand, A. (2022). A cross-sectional investigation of the impact of stuttering on Swedish females and males in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_JSLHR-22-00043


This research was supported by Majblomman Foundation, Aina Börjesson Foundation for Speech and Language Pathology Research and Treatment, Solstickan Foundation, and Iris Jonzén-Sandblom and Greta Jonzén Foundation.