Emotional Diathesis, Emotional Stress, and Childhood Stuttering Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine (a) whether emotional reactivity and emotional stress of children who stutter (CWS) are associated with their stuttering frequency, (b) when the relationship between emotional reactivity and stuttering frequency is more likely to exist, and (c) how these associations are mediated by ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2016
Emotional Diathesis, Emotional Stress, and Childhood Stuttering
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Dahye Choi
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Edward G. Conture
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Tedra A. Walden
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Robin M. Jones
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Hanjoe Kim
    Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Dahye Choi, who is now at the University of South Alabama in Mobile: dchoi@southalabama.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt
    Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2016
Emotional Diathesis, Emotional Stress, and Childhood Stuttering
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2016, Vol. 59, 616-630. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0357
History: Received December 22, 2014 , Revised July 17, 2015 , Accepted October 13, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2016, Vol. 59, 616-630. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0357
History: Received December 22, 2014; Revised July 17, 2015; Accepted October 13, 2015

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine (a) whether emotional reactivity and emotional stress of children who stutter (CWS) are associated with their stuttering frequency, (b) when the relationship between emotional reactivity and stuttering frequency is more likely to exist, and (c) how these associations are mediated by a 3rd variable (e.g., sympathetic arousal).

Method Participants were 47 young CWS (M age = 50.69 months, SD = 10.34). Measurement of participants' emotional reactivity was based on parental report, and emotional stress was engendered by viewing baseline, positive, and negative emotion-inducing video clips, with stuttered disfluencies and sympathetic arousal (indexed by tonic skin conductance level) measured during a narrative after viewing each of the various video clips.

Results CWS's positive emotional reactivity was positively associated with percentage of their stuttered disfluencies regardless of emotional stress condition. CWS's negative emotional reactivity was more positively correlated with percentage of stuttered disfluencies during a narrative after a positive, compared with baseline, emotional stress condition. CWS's sympathetic arousal did not appear to mediate the effect of emotional reactivity, emotional stress condition, and their interaction on percentage of stuttered disfluencies, at least during this experimental narrative task following emotion-inducing video clips.

Conclusions Results were taken to suggest an association between young CWS's positive emotional reactivity and stuttering, with negative reactivity seemingly more associated with these children's stuttering during positive emotional stress (a stress condition possibly associated with lesser degrees of emotion regulation). Such findings seem to support the notion that emotional processes warrant inclusion in any truly comprehensive account of childhood stuttering.

Acknowledgments
This study would not have been possible without the financial support from the following National Institute of Health Grants: R01 DC000523-17 and R01 DC006477-01A2, the National Center for Research Resources, Clinical and Translational Science Awards grants (1 UL1 RR024975 and UL1TR000445) to Vanderbilt University, and a Vanderbilt University Discovery Grant. We also extend our appreciation to the participants and their families without whose cooperation this study would not have been conducted.
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