The epidemiology of stuttering: the need for reliable estimates of prevalence and anxiety levels over the lifespan

Taylor & Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Advances in Speech Language Pathology, 2005, 7 (1), pp. 41 - 46
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Few studies have investigated the natural history or epidemiology of stuttering over the entire lifespan. The natural history of a disease involves the study of aspects of a disease that can enhance our understanding of its nature. Important aspects of the natural history of stuttering include factors sich as its aetiology, its prevalence (that is, how it is idstributed in society and how frequent ot os at any one time), the incidence (or the risk) of ever developing te disease, the population who is at risk, and the proggression of the disease. This paper provides detail on the epidemiology of stuttering, providing a summary of recent studies that have investigated prevalence, with emphasis on prevalence over the entire lifespan. Prior epidemiological studies in children have led tro an establshed belief in the scientific community that the prevalence of stuttering is about 1%. However, this figure is potentially misleading as a recent study completed by the the authors found a much higher prevalence rate in young male children (2%) and a lower prevalence in young females (0.8% and 0.2% respectively). In terms of the progression of anxiety in those who stutter, a rtend has been found for persons who stutter to have higher levels of trait anxiety and these anxiety levels have been found to increase with age. Implications of these results are discussed.
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