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Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2011 Aug;20(3):221-32. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0091). Epub 2011 Apr 8.

Anxiety and stuttering: continuing to explore a complex relationship.

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Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney.



The relationship between anxiety and stuttering has been widely studied. However, a review conducted more than 10 years ago (Menzies, Onslow, & Packman, 1999) identified 5 methodological issues thought to preclude consistent research findings regarding the nature of this relationship. The purpose of the present review was to determine whether methodological improvements have occurred since the Menzies et al. (1999) review.


Literature published since the Menzies et al. review was evaluated with regard to the 5 methodological issues identified in that review: (a) the construct of anxiety, (b) trait anxiety measures, (c) participant numbers, (d) treatment status of participants, and (e) speaking tasks.


Despite some remaining ambiguous findings, research published since the Menzies et al. review has provided far stronger evidence of a relationship between stuttering and anxiety, and has focused more on social anxiety, expectancies of social harm, and fear of negative evaluation.


The aims of future research should be to improve research design, increase statistical power, employ multidimensional measures of anxiety, and further develop anxiolytic treatment options for people who stutter.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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