Stuttering and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States Purpose The purpose of this study was to quantify relationships between stuttering and labor market outcomes, determine if outcomes differ by gender, and explain the earnings difference between people who stutter and people who do not stutter. Method Survey and interview data were obtained from the National Longitudinal ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 13, 2018
Stuttering and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Hope Gerlach
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Evan Totty
    Economics Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Anu Subramanian
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Patricia Zebrowski
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • 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 Hope Gerlach: hope-gerlach@uiowa.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Julie Liss
    Editor-in-Chief: Julie Liss×
  • Editor: Bharath Chandrasekaran
    Editor: Bharath Chandrasekaran×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 13, 2018
Stuttering and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2018, Vol. 61, 1649-1663. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-S-17-0353
History: Received September 18, 2017 , Revised January 26, 2018 , Accepted March 26, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2018, Vol. 61, 1649-1663. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-S-17-0353
History: Received September 18, 2017; Revised January 26, 2018; Accepted March 26, 2018

Purpose The purpose of this study was to quantify relationships between stuttering and labor market outcomes, determine if outcomes differ by gender, and explain the earnings difference between people who stutter and people who do not stutter.

Method Survey and interview data were obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Of the 13,564 respondents who completed 4 waves of surveys over 14 years and answered questions about stuttering, 261 people indicated that they stutter. Regression analysis, propensity score matching, and Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition were used.

Results After controlling for numerous variables related to demographics and comorbidity, the deficit in earnings associated with stuttering exceeded $7,000. Differences in observable characteristics between people who stutter and people who do not stutter (e.g., education, occupation, self-perception, hours worked) accounted for most of the earnings gap for males but relatively little for females. Females who stutter were also 23% more likely to be underemployed than females who do not stutter.

Conclusions Stuttering was associated with reduced earnings and other gender-specific disadvantages in the labor market. Preliminary evidence indicates that discrimination may have contributed to the earnings gap associated with stuttering, particularly for females.

Acknowledgments
This research uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris and funded by Grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. However, no direct support was received from Grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis. Special acknowledgment is due to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center, 206 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 (addhealth_contracts@unc.edu).
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