Is stuttering linked to social anxiety?

July 6, 2018, Flinders University

The differences – and similarities – between people with high levels of social anxiety and stutterers are being investigated by researchers at Flinders.

In the hope of find new methods of overcoming, treat and even prevent stuttering, the researchers will study whether high impacts a stutterer's rate of recovery and possible treatment relapse.

They will also examine differences in cognitive processes such as fears of criticism and fears of negative evaluation.

Research focusing on psychological aspects of stuttering is the specialisation of Alan Webb, currently doing his Psychology Honours research with Dr. Junwen Chen, senior lecturer in Psychology – and to continue this research they are now looking to recruit who stutter.

To investigate different features of in people who stutter, they will be assessing levels of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), an intense fear of scrutiny by others in than can lead to people avoiding social situations.

Individuals who stutter have a much higher risk of developing SAD than the general population due to bullying and negative peer responses that often begin in childhood, and it has been suggested that social anxiety increases the risk of relapse for adults who stutter following speech treatment due to situation avoidance.

To ensure that treatment approaches are relevant and effective for adults who stutter with SAD, Mr Webb says it is important to understand the factors that contribute to and maintain SAD in adults who stutter.

"The aim of this study is to investigate if the negative beliefs and biased cognitive processing seen in non-stuttering populations with SAD would contribute to and maintain social anxiety in adults who ," he says.

"According to the cognitive behavioural models of SAD, fear of negative and positive evaluation are core beliefs experienced by socially anxious individuals."

Initial research has been performed, but the Flinders team is making a call for further public participants in this study, which will continue throughout this year. To register your interest in participating in this study, please email emotionandbehaviourlab@hotmail.com

This work complements other work being done at Flinders University to build greater knowledge about stuttering.

Dr. Michelle Swift, lecturer and clinical educator in fluency disorders for the Flinders University Speech Pathology program, is currently writing an ethics application to investigate potential treatments for the psychosocial issues that can accompany school-aged stuttering. She will be calling for volunteers for this project towards the end of this year.

Explore further: Does stuttering stop children from doing more than just speaking?

Related Stories

Does stuttering stop children from doing more than just speaking?

May 29, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Dr Lisa Iverach and Professor Ron Rapee AM from the Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University, are investigating the social and emotional impact of childhood stuttering.

Babies' brains could unravel the mystery of stuttering

January 30, 2015
University of Sydney researchers are launching a world-first study to see if it's possible to detect whether a baby will go on to stutter in later life - well before they start to talk.

Stuttering related to brain circuits that control speech production

November 23, 2016
Researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) have conducted the first study of its kind, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to look at brain regions in both adults and children who stutter.

Brain development differs in children who stutter

October 10, 2013
(Edmonton) A new study by a University of Alberta researcher shows that children who stutter have less grey matter in key regions of the brain responsible for speech production than children who do not stutter.

Stuttering: Stop signals in the brain disturb speech flow

December 12, 2017
One per cent of adults and five per cent of children are unable to achieve what most of us take for granted—speaking fluently. Instead, they struggle with words, often repeating the beginning of a word, for example "G-g-g-g-g-ood ...

Stuttering linked to reduced blood flow in area of brain associated with language

January 4, 2017
A study led by researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles demonstrates what lead investigator Bradley Peterson, MD, calls "a critical mass of evidence" of a common underlying lifelong vulnerability in both children and ...

Recommended for you

Eye training to help children with dyspraxia

September 24, 2018
Children with a coordination disorder can improve skills like throwing and catching with new training videos developed by the University of Exeter.

Take a step back from yourself to better realize the benefits of awe

September 24, 2018
Religion and nature can both lead to awe, and turning to one or the other is a common coping strategy for the stress that might accompany an upcoming presentation, exam or performance.

Stepfathers' 'Cinderella effect' challenged by new study

September 24, 2018
Long-held assumptions that stepfathers are far more likely to be responsible for child deaths than genetic parents have been challenged by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Even toddlers weigh risks, rewards when making choices

September 21, 2018
Every day, adults conduct cost-benefit analyses in some form for decisions large and small, economic and personal: Bring a lunch or go out? Buy or rent? Remain single or start a family? All are balances of risk and reward.

Quitting junk food produces similar withdrawal-type symptoms as drug addiction

September 20, 2018
If you plan to try and quit junk food, expect to suffer similar withdrawal-type symptoms—at least during the initial week—like addicts experience when they attempt to quit using drugs.

In depression the brain region for stress control is larger

September 20, 2018
Although depression is one of the leading psychiatric disorders in Germany, its cause remains unclear. A recent study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig, Germany, found ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.