RESEARCH ON STUTTERING

Research into various aspects of the stuttering problem. Different therapies are evaluated in carefully controlled studies to determine their effectiveness. In addition, survey research is ongoing to provide new insights into certain social aspects of the problem. What follows are two examples of the latter type of research, followed by a more extensive study of the long-term effects of the current .

Recent Research Finds Number Crunches Among One Third Of All Patients Who Stutter

A recent study conducted by The National Center For Stuttering of 520 consecutive patients seen at various clinics revealed that slightly over one third chose occupations which dealt primarily with the manipulation of numbers. Stutterers appear most likely to become Engineers, Accountants or Computer Workers, with the total of the three occupations comprising as much as one third of the group studied. Querying these individuals revealed that the most frequent reason given for their career choice was an original assumption that minimal importance would be placed on verbal performance.

In a surprise finding, it was observed that approximately 12.5% of those seen were either salespersons or lawyers, occupations which place a heavy premium upon verbal skills. Querying these groups revealed a strong determination to "do my own thing, regardless of how I talk."

Stutterers Earn Significantly Less 10 Years After Graduating College

A recent study completed at The National Center for Stuttering revealed that individuals who stutter earn approximately $7200 less per year than a matched groups of non stutterers 10 years after graduating college.

Two groups of 25 each were examined. Matched for age, sex, IQ, race, education, and socio-economic background, they were contacted and asked a number of questions relating to levels of achievement. One of these asked about annual salary.

While there was substantial expected variation in the reported earnings, administration of an appropriate statistical measure (a non-parametric t-test) yielded the finding that the $7200 difference was highly significant (< .0001 level of confidence).

A follow-up study revealed that the difference did not appear to be the result of employer discrimination, but of a reluctance on the part of many stutterers to accept promotions that involved making presentations in front of groups of people.

A Study Of The Long-Term Effects Of A Multi-Dimensional Treatment Program For Stutterers

The purpose of this study is to present data relevant to the long-term effects of a multi dimensional treatment program. The results are based upon a population of 221 patients who participated in a special three-year study.

Subjects. The experimental population was composed of 154 males (mean age, 29.2 years) and 67 females (mean age, 33.6). Almost all had had conventional speech therapy or psychotherapy at some point in their lives prior to enrolling in the research program. For 78 percent of patients, their overt struggle symptoms ranged from mild to severe; for 22 percent of patients, there were no overt struggle behaviors, but rather a well-developed word-substitution capability. This group was labeled "closet stutterers."

Method. Each patient learned a number of techniques for subtracting Sources I through VI from the Prespeech vocal cord tensions . All received weekly individualized assignments and sent tape cassettes to their assigned therapist on an average of at least once each ten days for twelve months. All were required to attend local club meetings or to communicate regularly by telephone with fellow patients in their area. All attended at least three regularly scheduled refresher courses per year for three years.

Prior to and at the end of the first year the patients were called up on to complete a detailed questionnaire. The questionnaire was a self-assessment of relative percent speaking success in each of nine representative speaking situations. Test-retest reliability of the perceptual judgments indicated high intrajudge reliability. The test was also read ministered after twenty-four and thirty-six months to determine the effects of time.

Results. At the end of the initial twelve-month period, 94 percent of the patients reported that the program had been successful. At twenty-four months, the success rate had dropped to 91 percent; at thirty-six months it had risen to 93 percent. There was no significant difference in percent success rates among the first, second, and third year results.

Discussion. The definition of success used in this study was "to be essentially symptom-free in all daily routine speaking situations." There was no attempt to define success as total elimination of undesirable habits, but rather to define it in a functional sense, that is, to function routinely without stuttering, word or sound substituting, or avoiding speaking situations.

Might the patients slip once in a while and stutter or substitute or avoid? The answer is yes. But they could recover immediately and, most importantly, reported that they were not psychologically devastated by the event. They knew it was caused by a failure to employ techniques and further knew they could take immediate action to prevent similar events from occurring.

Thus the results of this study indicate that for adults, well over nine out of every ten can expect to have a relatively permanent success

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