The Effects of Different Sources and Modalities of Stuttering Disclosure on Listeners’ Perceptions of a Child Who Stutters
Introduction: Research reveals the clinical efficacy of both verbal and written stuttering disclosure statements provided by a child who stutters (CWS) and his advocates (i.e., mother or teacher) [Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2020 Jul;51(3):745–60 and Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2021 Aug;52(4):1031–1048]. Although existing data reveal that both the source (i.e., self- vs. advocate disclosure) and modality (i.e., verbal or written) of stuttering disclosure yields significant improvements in the perceptions of speech skills and personality characteristics of CWS, there is a paucity of research directly comparing the modality (verbal vs. written) and source (self, mother, teacher) of disclosure statements. Accordingly, this study analyzes listeners’ perceptions of a 12-year-old male CWS’ speech skills and personal characteristics, as a function of both the source and modality of factual stuttering disclosure statements [Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2020 Jul;51(3):745–60 and Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2021 Aug;52(4):1031–1048].
Methods: A total of 641 college-aged adults participated in this analysis; study participants reported their perceptions of speech skills and personality characteristics of a 12-year-old CWS as a function of stuttering disclosure. Participants were randomly assigned to view one video containing one of two disclosure modalities (verbal or written), one of three stuttering disclosure source conditions (self-disclosure, mother disclosure, and teacher disclosure), or a no-disclosure control condition. Participants in the control group viewed a brief video of a 12-year-old CWS reciting a short reading passage; participants in the experimental groups viewed their assigned disclosure statement followed by the same video used in the control condition. Immediately following the video, all participants completed a survey quantifying their perceptions of the CWSs relative to his speech skills and personal characteristics.
Results: Results reveal optimal results via verbal self-disclosure and verbal teacher disclosure. A limited number of nominally positive perceptual differences were noted within the written mother disclosure group, while written CWS self-disclosure yielded significantly negative perceptions of the CWS. Overall, verbal disclosures yield far more significant and desirable perceptions of CWS’ speech skills and personal characteristics when compared to written stuttering disclosure.
Discussion: Results of this analysis reveal that verbal stuttering disclosure is significantly more effective in improving listeners’ perceptions of a CWS, when compared to written stuttering disclosures. Despite the widespread adoption of written communication over digital media (e.g., email and text messages), these data support the notion that face-to-face or video verbal stuttering disclosure provides the most desirable perceptual benefits for CWS. Within verbal stuttering disclosure, verbal self-disclosure appears to be the single best overall disclosure methodology relative to clinical application.
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