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J Fluency Disord. 2013 Mar;38(1):14-29. doi: 10.1016/j.jfludis.2012.12.001. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

The impact of stuttering on adults who stutter and their partners.

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1
School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, GPO Box U 1987, Perth, Western Australia 6845, Australia. J.Beilby@curtin.edu.au

Abstract

This study explored the impact of the stuttering disorder on perceived quality of life, with emphasis on the individual's relationship with their partner or spouse. Specifically, the purposes were: (a) to investigate what personal experiences and themes exist for both members of a couple dyad when one member of the couple stutters and (b) to examine whether the partners have different experiences with respect to the impact of stuttering on their lives. A mixed method research design was used. Participant dyads (adults who stutter and their fluent life partner) each completed one semi-structured qualitative interview and two questionnaires: the Overall Assessment of Speakers' Experience of Stuttering (OASES), and the Medical Short Form 36 (SF-36). Interviews were analysed qualitatively and significant themes evaluated. Quantitative results of the OASES and SF-36 were analysed, and scores correlated to determine the strength of any clinically significant relationships. Results indicated that people who stutter and their fluent partners reported similar experiences in reactions to stuttering and perceived difficulties in communication. However, no relationship was seen between the two groups in perceived impact on quality of life. Qualitative results indicated that the participants shared life experiences including reactions to stuttering, treatment undertaken and support. Such findings lend support to a broad-based clinical programme for adults who stutter that includes the fluent partner as an agent of change in their treatment. Findings also support the utilisation of qualitative and quantitative research techniques to elucidate relevant psychosocial life themes and experiences for those who live with a stutter.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES:

The reader will be able to: (a) identify the life themes associated with having a partner who stutters; (b) identify the perceived impact of stuttering for adults who stutter compared to their partners; and (c) discuss the clinical implications of the results with regards to working with adults who stutter.

PMID:
23540910
DOI:
10.1016/j.jfludis.2012.12.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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