Author(s): Alm PA, Alm PA
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Abstract Anxiety and emotional reactions have a central role in many theories of stuttering, for example that persons who stutter would tend to have an emotionally sensitive temperament. The possible relation between stuttering and certain traits of temperament or personality were reviewed and analyzed, with focus on temporal relations (i.e., what comes first). It was consistently found that preschool children who stutter (as a group) do not show any tendencies toward elevated temperamental traits of shyness or social anxiety compared with children who do not stutter. Significant group differences were, however, repeatedly reported for traits associated with inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, which is likely to reflect a subgroup of children who stutter. Available data is not consistent with the proposal that the risk for persistent stuttering is increased by an emotionally reactive temperament in children who stutter. Speech-related social anxiety develops in many cases of stuttering, before adulthood. Reduction of social anxiety in adults who stutter does not in itself appear to result in significant improvement of speech fluency. Studies have not revealed any relation between the severity of the motor symptoms of stuttering and temperamental traits. It is proposed that situational variability of stuttering, related to social complexity, is an effect of interference from social cognition and not directly from the emotions of social anxiety. In summary, the studies in this review provide strong evidence that persons who stutter are not characterized by constitutional traits of anxiety or similar constructs. EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES: This paper provides a review and analysis of studies of anxiety, temperament, and personality, organized with the objective to clarify cause and effect relations. Readers will be able to (a) understand the importance of effect size and distribution of data for interpretation of group differences; (b) understand the role of temporal relations for interpretation of cause and effect; (c) discuss the results of studies of anxiety, temperament and personality in relation to stuttering; and (d) discuss situational variations of stuttering and the possible role of social cognition. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Fluency Disord
and referenced in Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior