Attitudes of stuttering within the social networks of people who stutter

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study examined attitudes about stuttering in the social networks of people who stutter. This study included seven people who stutter (PWS) as well as 21 other participants across the social networks of the PWS. The PWS were asked to identify up to five individuals they consider to be close to, constituting the inner “circle” of their social network. These individuals were asked to identify two acquaintances and two strangers of the PWS to also participate in the study, constituting the outer circles of the social network. However, low participation rate made it possible to examine only the inner circle. A series of surveys were administered to the PWS and all recruited participants to assess how attitudes toward stuttering change as a function of the “distance” from the PWS, and to evaluate the prevalence of negative attitudes (i.e., stigma) about stuttering in the network. Results showed that perceived stigma was similar between PWS and those in their social networks. In addition, PWS rated their overall experiences of stuttering and the level of debilitation as less negative than their social networks. The perceived closeness of the individuals did not appear to have a major impact on the attitudes about stuttering. One limitation of the study is that stigma of stuttering proved to be an obstacle to studying the stigma itself. This suggests a need for more communication about stuttering within the networks of PWS.

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Speech therapy, Psychology