Date of Award

5-2007

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Advisor

Nancy E. Hall

Second Committee Member

Allan B. Smith

Third Committee Member

Jeffrey E. Hecker

Abstract

Researchers and clinicians remain unsure of the etiology of stuttering. It has been theorized that anxiety plays a role in the development and maintenance of stuttering, particularly in the adult population. In this study, 31 adults who stutter were compared to 31 fluent speakers to determine differences in social anxiety levels. Two surveys, The Fear of Negative Evaluation and Social Avoidance and Distress Scale, were utilized to obtain this information. Demographics (i.e. gender, age, race) and treatment history for stuttering and anxiety were also obtained. People who stutter showed significantly higher levels of social avoidance and distress and fear of being negatively evaluated in social contexts when compared to fluent speakers, with a wide variability of scores on the two surveys. Continued research is important in determining when feelings of anxiety toward speaking begin for people who stutter and what causes some individuals to experience more anxiety than others. Such research could assist in evaluation and treatment methods for individuals who stutter.

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