Social support and its association with negative affect in adults who stutter

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Fluency Disorders, 2014, 40 pp. 83 - 92
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Purpose: The purpose of the research reported in this manuscript is to clarify the relationship between social support and negative affect for people who stutter. Social support results in many benefits that help individuals to achieve self-esteem, motivation to adjust adaptively, and to experience a sense of belonging. Lack of such support is likely to result in heightened anxiety and negative affect manifesting in many forms. Method: This study used the Symptom Checklist - Revised (SCL-90-R) and the Significant Others Scale (SOS) to investigate social support and its relationship to negative affect in 200 adults who stutter, with comparisons made to 200 adults who do not stutter. Negative affect was assessed by interpersonal sensitivity, depressive mood and anxiety. The Significant Others Scale was used to provide an indication of the participants' actual and ideal levels of social support. Results: It was found that (i) those participants who stuttered had significantly elevated levels of negative affect across the SCL-90-R domains of interpersonal sensitivity, depressive mood and anxiety; (ii) the group who stuttered was found to have lower levels of actual and ideal social support; and (iii) those who stuttered and who also had low social support had significantly elevated levels of negative affect. Conclusion: Results highlight the potentially harmful influence that poor social support has on mood states for adults who stutter. These findings have implications for treatment such as the necessity to address and integrate social support and social integration issues in the treatment process for adults who stutter.Educational objectives: The reader will be able to: (a) describe the methodology of assessing social support using the Social Support Scale (SOS); (b) apply the concept of assessing social support in stuttering to treatment; (c) describe the protective contribution of helpful social support for adults who stutter; (d) describe the relationship between social support and negative mood states. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
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