Stereotypes towards stuttering for those who have never had direct contact with people who stutter: A randomized and stratified study

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Journal Article
Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2003, 97 (1), pp. 235 - 245
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Research suggests that many people hold pervasive negative stereotypes towards persons who stutter and that to date, success in changing these attitudes has been limited. However, few studies have selected people who had not had direct contact with a person who stutters or employed a true randomized and stratified selection of people from the community to assess attitudes towards stuttering. To assess stereotypes, a randomized and stratified investigation was conducted by telephone interview to assess the type of stereotypes 502 people from households in the state of New South Wales, Australia have about stuttering. Consenting persons were given a brief introduction to the research and a description of stuttering. Then they were asked if they or any person living in their household stuttered or whether they knew or had ever met any one who stuttered. If answers were no, they were asked to participate. If they answered yes to either question they were thanked and not asked to participate. Analysis showed that a large number believe persons who stutter are shy, self-conscious, anxious people who lack confidence. In contrast, many also believe they would not be embarrassed talking to someone who stutters, that they have average or above average intelligence, and are capable of holding responsible work-related positions. While this research yields a mixture of negative and positive community stereotypes, a significant portion of society continue to show little knowledge of the causes of the disorder.
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