Attentional Regulation in Young Twins With Probable Stuttering, High Nonfluency, and Typical Fluency PurposeUsing a sample of 20,445 Dutch twins, this study examined the relationship between speech fluency and attentional regulation in children. A secondary objective was to identify etiological overlap between nonfluency and poor attention using fluency-discordant twin pairs.MethodThree fluency groups were created at age 5 using a parent questionnaire: (a) probable ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2010
Attentional Regulation in Young Twins With Probable Stuttering, High Nonfluency, and Typical Fluency
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Felsenfeld
    Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT, and Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Catharina Eugenie Maria van Beijsterveldt
    Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Dorret Irene Boomsma
    Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Contact author: Susan Felsenfeld, Department of Communication Disorders, Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1330. E-mail: felsenfelds1@southernct.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   October 01, 2010
Attentional Regulation in Young Twins With Probable Stuttering, High Nonfluency, and Typical Fluency
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2010, Vol. 53, 1147-1166. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0164)
History: Received August 7, 2009 , Accepted January 8, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2010, Vol. 53, 1147-1166. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0164)
History: Received August 7, 2009; Accepted January 8, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 25

PurposeUsing a sample of 20,445 Dutch twins, this study examined the relationship between speech fluency and attentional regulation in children. A secondary objective was to identify etiological overlap between nonfluency and poor attention using fluency-discordant twin pairs.

MethodThree fluency groups were created at age 5 using a parent questionnaire: (a) probable stuttering (PS; N = 826; 4.0%), highly nonfluent (HNF; N = 547; 2.7%), and typically fluent (TF; N = 19,072; 93%). Multiple scales assessing attention, primarily self-regulation/inhibition, were obtained from both parents when children were ages 5 and 7 and from teachers when children were age 7.

ResultsWhen compared with the TF controls, both the PS and HNF children received higher (i.e., more problematic) scores on parental attention ratings at both ages (p < .002). Effect sizes were moderate for both groups. Teacher and parent ratings were generally comparable. The discordant co-twin analyses suggested that nonfluency and attention were influenced by potentially overlapping genetic and shared environmental factors.

ConclusionsThe liability to express both high nonfluency and problems with self-regulation/inhibition may arise from a common set of pathogenic mechanisms. This supports emerging models of stuttering, which propose that poor fluency may be part of a broader network of impaired self-regulatory processes.

Acknowledgments
We gratefully acknowledge support from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Grants NWO-MagW 480-04-004 and Spinozapremie NWO/SPI 56-464-14192 (Twin-Family Database for Behavior Genetics and Genomics Studies).
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