What Do People Who Stutter Want—Fluency or Freedom? Purpose In this study, the author examined the following questions: What proportion of adult persons who stutter (PWS) choose fluency and what proportion choose to be free from a need to be fluent in managing their stuttering? What demographic and stuttering-related variables influence their choice, and how consistent are they ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2009
What Do People Who Stutter Want—Fluency or Freedom?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • H. S. Venkatagiri
    Iowa State University, Ames
  • Contact author: H. S. Venkatagiri, 2130 Pearson Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: giri@iastate.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2009
What Do People Who Stutter Want—Fluency or Freedom?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2009, Vol. 52, 500-515. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0019)
History: Received January 24, 2007 , Revised August 19, 2007 , Accepted July 7, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2009, Vol. 52, 500-515. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0019)
History: Received January 24, 2007; Revised August 19, 2007; Accepted July 7, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose In this study, the author examined the following questions: What proportion of adult persons who stutter (PWS) choose fluency and what proportion choose to be free from a need to be fluent in managing their stuttering? What demographic and stuttering-related variables influence their choice, and how consistent are they in their choice?

Method A survey instrument administered over the Internet was used to collect the data.

Results Overall, 8% more of the 216 respondents opted for fluency than freedom. A larger proportion of male PWS and PWS under the age of 30 years preferred fluency. Neither nationality nor language background influenced their preference. Those who received no therapy overwhelmingly chose fluency, and a slight majority of those with fewer than 5 years of therapy preferred fluency. Those with more than 5 years of therapy were evenly divided between the 2 choices. Those who preferred freedom were more consistent in their responses across items than were those who opted for fluency. Based on the consistency of responses, 20% and 23% of the sample decisively opted for fluency and freedom, respectively, and 34% in the fluency group and 23% in the freedom group were ambivalent.

Conclusion A majority of PWS appear to benefit from flexible treatment programs with cafeteria-style choices.

Acknowledgments
The author acknowledges the help extended by J. Scott Yaruss and the National Stuttering Association (NSA) in recruiting participants for the survey. The findings and views reported here, however, are not endorsed by NSA. I am grateful to Patricia Zebrowski for many useful suggestions and editorial assistance during the revision of this article.
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