Epidemiological advances in stuttering during the current century are reviewed within the perspectives of past knowledge. The review is organized in six sections: (a) onset, (b) incidence, (c) prevalence, (d) developmental paths, (e) genetics and (f) subtypes. It is concluded that: (1) most of the risk for stuttering onset is over by age 5, earlier than has been previously thought, with a male-to-female ratio near onset smaller than what has been thought, (2) there are indications that the lifespan incidence in the general population may be higher than the 5% commonly cited in past work, (3) the average prevalence over the lifespan may be lower than the commonly held 1%, (4) the effects of race, ethnicity, culture, bilingualism, and socioeconomic status on the incidence/prevalence of stuttering remain uncertain, (5) longitudinal, as well as incidence and prevalence studies support high levels of natural recovery from stuttering, (6) advances in biological genetic research have brought within reach the identification of candidate genes that contribute to stuttering in the population at large, (7) subtype-differentiation has attracted growing interest, with most of the accumulated evidence supporting a distinction between persistent and recovered subtypes.
Educational objectives: Readers will be exposed to a summary presentation of the most recent data concerning basic epidemiological factors in stuttering. Most of these factors also pertain to children's risks for experiencing stuttering onset, as well as risks for persistency. The article also aims to increase awareness of the implications of the information to research, and professional preparation that meets the epidemiology of the disorder.
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