Safety Behaviors and Stuttering Purpose Those who are socially anxious may use safety behaviors during feared social interactions to prevent negative outcomes. Safety behaviors are associated with anxiety maintenance and poorer treatment outcomes because they prevent fear extinction. Social anxiety disorder is often comorbid with stuttering. Speech pathologists reported in a recent publication (Helgadottir, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 24, 2017
Safety Behaviors and Stuttering
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robyn Lowe
    The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Fjola Helgadottir
    The Vancouver CBT Centre, Canada
  • Ross Menzies
    The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Rob Heard
    The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Sue O'Brian
    The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Ann Packman
    The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Mark Onslow
    The University of Sydney, Australia
  • 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 Mark Onslow: mark.onslow@sydney.edu.au
  • Editor: Julie Liss
    Editor: Julie Liss×
  • Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt
    Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 24, 2017
Safety Behaviors and Stuttering
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2017, Vol. 60, 1246-1253. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-16-0055
History: Received February 9, 2016 , Revised August 1, 2016 , Accepted December 5, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2017, Vol. 60, 1246-1253. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-16-0055
History: Received February 9, 2016; Revised August 1, 2016; Accepted December 5, 2016

Purpose Those who are socially anxious may use safety behaviors during feared social interactions to prevent negative outcomes. Safety behaviors are associated with anxiety maintenance and poorer treatment outcomes because they prevent fear extinction. Social anxiety disorder is often comorbid with stuttering. Speech pathologists reported in a recent publication (Helgadottir, Menzies, Onslow, Packman, & O'Brian, 2014a) that they often recommended procedures for clients that could be safety behaviors. This study investigated the self-reported use of safety behaviors by adults who stutter.

Method Participants were 133 adults who stutter enrolled in an online cognitive-behavior therapy program. Participants completed a questionnaire about their use of potential safety behaviors when anxious during social encounters. Correlations were computed between safety behaviors and pretreatment scores on measures of fear of negative evaluation and negative cognitions.

Results Of 133 participants, 132 reported that they used safety behaviors. Many of the safety behaviors correlated with higher scores for fear of negative evaluation and negative cognitions.

Conclusions Adults who stutter report using safety behaviors, and their use is associated with pretreatment fear of negative evaluation and unhelpful thoughts about stuttering. These results suggest that the negative effects of safety behaviors may extend to those who stutter, and further research is needed.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Program Grant 633007 (awarded to the Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney), and the Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access