Measurement of Stuttering in Adults Comparison of Stuttering-Rate and Severity-Scaling Methods Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2004
Measurement of Stuttering in Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sue O’Brian
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Ann Packman
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Mark Onslow
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Nigel O’Brian
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia
    School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: s.obrian@fhs.usyd.edu.au
  • Contact author: Sue O’Brian, PhD, Australian Stuttering Research Centre, University of Sydney, Lidcombe, 2141 New South Wales, Australia. E-mail:s.obrian@fhs.usyd.edu.au
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2004
Measurement of Stuttering in Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1081-1087. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/080)
History: Received May 12, 2003 , Accepted October 8, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1081-1087. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/080)
History: Received May 12, 2003; Accepted October 8, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 43

This study investigated the comparative reliability of 2 stuttering measurement tools when used by experienced judges: percentage of syllables stuttered (%SS) and a 9-point severity scale (SEV). The study also investigated the degree to which scores on 1 tool predict scores on the other and the distributions of stuttering when measured by these tools. Twelve experienced judges watched 3-min videotapes of 90 stuttering and 10 nonstuttering participants. Half the judges rated %SS, and half made severity ratings. Results showed very high intrajudge and interjudge agreement for both measures. There was a strong linear correlation between %SS scores and SEV scores. Based on this finding, it seems that the 2 measures can be regarded as largely interchangeable. The exception to this, however, was in cases where there was either a small number of significant fixed postures (blocks and prolongations) or a large number of innocuous repeated movements (repetitions) in the speech sample. In such cases, it appears that %SS and SEV scores combined would be needed to provide a valid measure of stuttering. SEV scores were more normally distributed than %SS scores, which were clearly skewed. The advantages and limitations of the SEV scale are discussed.

Acknowledgments
We wish to thank clinicians from the Stuttering Unit, Bankstown Health Service, Sydney; the Australian Stuttering Research Centre and the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the University of Sydney; Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney; and Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, for contributing their time for this experiment.
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