Individual and Consensus Judgments of Disfluency Types in the Speech of Persons Who Stutter Previous research has suggested that the reliability with which judges identify individual disfluency types, such as repetitions or prolongations of speech sounds, may be very poor. The use of disfluency types judgments in research and clinical applications is also complicated by important differences among the several disfluency-based characterizations of stuttered ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2000
Individual and Consensus Judgments of Disfluency Types in the Speech of Persons Who Stutter
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anne K. Cordes
    The University of Georgia Athens, GA
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: acordes@coe.uga.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2000
Individual and Consensus Judgments of Disfluency Types in the Speech of Persons Who Stutter
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2000, Vol. 43, 951-964. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4304.951
History: Received January 26, 1999 , Accepted December 6, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2000, Vol. 43, 951-964. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4304.951
History: Received January 26, 1999; Accepted December 6, 1999

Previous research has suggested that the reliability with which judges identify individual disfluency types, such as repetitions or prolongations of speech sounds, may be very poor. The use of disfluency types judgments in research and clinical applications is also complicated by important differences among the several disfluency-based characterizations of stuttered speech. In an attempt to address these problems, this study arranged for 30 judges to identify all disfluency types that they perceived to be present in 5-s audiovisually recorded speech stimuli, each in an Individual task and then with a partner in a Consensus task. Intrapair agreement and interpair agreement for occurrences of disfluency types (from Consensus conditions) were significantly higher than intrajudge and interjudge agreement for occurrences (from Individual conditions). Despite being higher than individual values, however, intrapair and interpair agreement for occurrences both averaged less than 50%. Results also showed that disfluency types judgments, interpreted in terms of three common disfluency-based definitions of stuttering, were not strongly related to previous assessments of whether these speech tokens contained or did not contain stuttering. When combined with previously available data, the present findings suggest caution in the use of disfluency types to describe or define stuttered speech.

Acknowledgments
My thanks to the many new and future speech-language pathologists who participated as judges in this investigation and in the pilot work that led to this investigation. Thanks also to Julie Davis, for her assistance with data management, and to Alisa England, for her help at several stages of this study. The recordings used as judgment stimuli in this study were originally developed with support from Grant R01-DC00060 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders, awarded to R. J. Ingham.
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