Is Listener Comfort a Viable Construct in Stuttering Research? This article reports the development of a tool for measuring how comfortable a person feels when communicating with someone who has undergone treatment for stuttering. The person rates the speaker on a 9-point Listener Comfort Scale (9 =extremely comfortable, 1 =extremely uncomfortable). In a preliminary investigation of the reliability and ... Research Note
Research Note  |   April 01, 2003
Is Listener Comfort a Viable Construct in Stuttering Research?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sue O'Brian
    University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Ann Packman
    University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Mark Onslow
    University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Angela Cream
    University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Nigel O'Brian
    University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Kaely Bastock
    University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Contact author: Sue O'Brian, Australian Stuttering Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, East Street (Gate 2), Lidcombe, New South Wales, Australia 2141. E-mail: s.obrian@fhs.usyd.edu.au
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Notes
Research Note   |   April 01, 2003
Is Listener Comfort a Viable Construct in Stuttering Research?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2003, Vol. 46, 503-509. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/041)
History: Received June 25, 2002 , Accepted November 12, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2003, Vol. 46, 503-509. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/041)
History: Received June 25, 2002; Accepted November 12, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 17

This article reports the development of a tool for measuring how comfortable a person feels when communicating with someone who has undergone treatment for stuttering. The person rates the speaker on a 9-point Listener Comfort Scale (9 =extremely comfortable, 1 =extremely uncomfortable). In a preliminary investigation of the reliability and validity of the scale, 15 unsophisticated listeners rated video recordings of 10 adults before and after a prolonged-speech treatment for stuttering and of 10 matched controls. The results were compared with those of another 15 listeners who rated the same recordings with the widely used 9-point Speech Naturalness Scale (R. R. Martin, S. K. Haroldson, & K. A. Triden, 1984). Results showed that reliability of the Speech Naturalness Scale was superior to the Listener Comfort Scale, although users of both scales were able to distinguish between pretreatment speech, posttreatment speech, and the speech of controls. The results suggest that the Listener Comfort Scale captures information that is somewhat different than the information captured by the Speech Naturalness Scale. The authors concluded that the concept of listener comfort is a potentially useful additional way of investigating the social validity of behavioral treatments for stuttering.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by the vacation studentship scheme of the University of Sydney. The authors would also like to thank the staff members who gave their time to participate in this project.
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