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J Fluency Disord. 2012 Jun;37(2):106-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jfludis.2012.01.002. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

The impact of adolescent stuttering on educational and employment outcomes: evidence from a birth cohort study.

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School of Allied Health Professions, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom.



In interview and survey studies, people who stutter report the belief that stuttering has had a negative impact on their own education and employment. This population study sought objective evidence of such disadvantage for people who stutter as a group, compared with people who do not stutter.


A secondary analysis of a British birth cohort dataset was used in the study. At age 16, there were 217 cohort members who were reported by their parents to stutter, and 15,694 cohort members with no known history of stuttering or other speech problems. Data were analysed concerning factors associated with report of stuttering at 16, school leaving age, highest qualification, unemployment early in working life, pay at age 23 and 50, and social class of job at age 23 and 50.


Those who stuttered at 16 were statistically more likely than those who did not stutter to be male, to have poorer cognitive test scores, and to have been bullied. There were no significant effects of stuttering on educational outcomes. For employment outcomes, the only significant association with stuttering concerned socioeconomic status of occupation at 50, with those who had been reported to stutter having lower-status jobs.


These findings fail to support the belief that stuttering has a negative impact on education and employment. The higher likelihood of those who stutter working in lower-status positions may reflect their preference for avoiding occupations perceived to require good spoken communication abilities. Therapeutic implications are discussed.


The reader will be able to describe (a) prior work on the impact of stuttering on education and employment, (b) some characteristics of the National Child Development Study (NCDS), (c) the effect of stuttering on school leaving age and highest educational qualification in NCDS, (d) the effect of stuttering on employment outcomes in NCDS: unemployment by age 23, pay at 23 and 50, and socioeconomic status of occupation at 23 and 50.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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