What do people who stutter want--fluency or freedom?

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2009 Apr;52(2):500-15. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0019). Epub 2008 Aug 11.


Purpose: In this study, the author examined the following questions: What proportion of adult persons who stutter (PWS) choose fluency and what proportion choose to be free from a need to be fluent in managing their stuttering? What demographic and stuttering-related variables influence their choice, and how consistent are they in their choice?

Method: A survey instrument administered over the Internet was used to collect the data.

Results: Overall, 8% more of the 216 respondents opted for fluency than freedom. A larger proportion of male PWS and PWS under the age of 30 years preferred fluency. Neither nationality nor language background influenced their preference. Those who received no therapy overwhelmingly chose fluency, and a slight majority of those with fewer than 5 years of therapy preferred fluency. Those with more than 5 years of therapy were evenly divided between the 2 choices. Those who preferred freedom were more consistent in their responses across items than were those who opted for fluency. Based on the consistency of responses, 20% and 23% of the sample decisively opted for fluency and freedom, respectively, and 34% in the fluency group and 23% in the freedom group were ambivalent.

Conclusion: A majority of PWS appear to benefit from flexible treatment programs with cafeteria-style choices.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aging
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Speech*
  • Stuttering / psychology*
  • Stuttering / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult