The psychological impact of chronic stuttering in adults

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Stuttering: Risk Factors, Public Attitudes and Impact on Psychological Well-Being, 2015, pp. 37 - 56
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© 2015 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Stuttering is a communication and fluency disorder usually beginning in childhood. It involves persistent problems with the fluency and timing of speech, resulting in reduced speech intelligibility. If it remains untreated, there is a high risk the stuttering will become chronic and continue throughout adulthood. Stuttering can be embarrassing, frustrating and distressing. While most people who stutter will experience some degree of speech related anxiety, it has been shown that up to 40% of adults who stutter are at risk of developing clinically elevated social anxiety that has generalized to challenging social contexts like work related meetings or speaking on a telephone, and which is similar in nature to social anxiety disorder. Additionally, stuttering has been found to be significantly associated with negative affectivity or negative mood states, including somatization, depressive mood and anxiety. We also briefly report meta-analysis results that established that stuttering does have a considerable psychological impact on wellbeing. The metaanalytic results confirmed that adults who stutter have a high chance of developing abnormally elevated trait and social anxiety. The overall effect size for social anxiety was high and therefore concerning. Finally, we report on research that investigated the variability in mood states over time in adults who stutter. The implications of these findings for ongoing research in the psychological impact of stuttering, as well as for its ongoing management are discussed.
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