Title

An Investigation of the Cognitive Mediating Variables of Adult Stutterers and the Relationship of These Variables to Performance Anxiety

Date of Award

1981

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Robert C. Rhodes

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

The research was designed to investigate a stuttering and nonstuttering sample to determine if differences existed in labeling anxiety as facilitative or debilitative and to determine the relationship between general-specific anxiety and stuttering. An additional purpose was to investigate within a stuttering sample the relationship between expectancy to stutter, stimulus sentence word weights, specific speech-associated anxiety, and facilitative-debilitative behavior. The experimental group consisted of four adult male and two adult female stutterers. The control group consisted of four male and two adult female nonstutterers. The subjects were selected from clients enrolled in the University of Southern Mississippi Speech and Hearing Center and from student volunteers attending the University. General and specific anxieties were measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory just prior to and immediately following all experimental conditions. Additional specific speech-associated anxieties, such as skin potential response occurrence and length of heartbeat period, were measured while subjects read aloud 15 visually presented stimulus sentences. Expectancy to stutter was recorded whenever the expectancy button was pressed prior to reading a stimulus sentence. A comparison of mean self-report scores and an independent t test on these self-report mean scores were used to indicate facilitative-debilitative labeling preference and to determine differences between the experimental and control groups. Results indicated that both stutterers and nonstutterers labeled anxiety as more facilitative than debilitative. However, the stuttering group's scores revealed a significantly demonstrated less facilitative behavior than the nonstuttering group's scores. A 2 x 3 multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures was computed to determine differences in the number of skin potential response occurrences and length of heartbeat period 10 seconds prior to, 10 seconds during, and 10 seconds after reading aloud each stimulus sentence. Results indicated that there was no significant difference between a stuttering and a nonstuttering sample when both skin potential response occurrence and hearbeat period were considered simultaneously. A 2 x 2 multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures was used to determine differences in State-Trait anxiety scores between the experimental and control group prior to and after experimental conditions. Results indicated that there were no significant differences between a nonstuttering and a stuttering sample when both State and Trait variables were considered simultaneously. Four Mann Whitney U analyses were computed to determine differences within a stuttering sample in expectancy to stutter, stimulus sentence word weights, specific speech-associated anxieties, and facilitative-debilitative behaviors. Results indicated that the higher the stimulus word weight score the more likely stuttering would be expected. The variables number of skin potential response occurrences and length of heartbeat period were not found during separate analysis to be significant factors when the stuttering sample expected to stutter and did not expect to stutter. The last variable, facilitative-debilitative self-report measures, was found to be a significant factor when the stuttering sample expected to stutter and did not expect to stutter.