Personal Perceptions and Perceived Public Opinion About Stuttering in the United States: Implications for Anti-Stigma Campaigns Purpose This exploratory study was the first to obtain quantitative and qualitative data on both personal perceptions and perceived public opinion about stuttering in order to identify topics to include in anti-stigma programs for stuttering. Method Three-hundred ten adults in the United States completed a web survey that ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 15, 2017
Personal Perceptions and Perceived Public Opinion About Stuttering in the United States: Implications for Anti-Stigma Campaigns
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Michael P. Boyle
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Montclair State University, Bloomfield, New Jersey
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Michael P. Boyle: boylemi@mail.montclair.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Shelley Brundage
    Associate Editor: Shelley Brundage×
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 15, 2017
Personal Perceptions and Perceived Public Opinion About Stuttering in the United States: Implications for Anti-Stigma Campaigns
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2017, Vol. 26, 921-938. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0191
History: Received October 27, 2016 , Revised February 6, 2017 , Accepted March 19, 2017
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2017, Vol. 26, 921-938. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0191
History: Received October 27, 2016; Revised February 6, 2017; Accepted March 19, 2017

Purpose This exploratory study was the first to obtain quantitative and qualitative data on both personal perceptions and perceived public opinion about stuttering in order to identify topics to include in anti-stigma programs for stuttering.

Method Three-hundred ten adults in the United States completed a web survey that assessed knowledge about stuttering and attitudes toward people who stutter (PWS) with questions addressing personal perceptions (direct questions) and perceived public opinion (indirect questions).

Results Many participants reported favorable personal perceptions of PWS regarding their intelligence, competence, and potential for success. However, most participants did not personally believe PWS were confident, and most believed they were shy. Perceived public opinion was more unfavorable as a majority agreed that the public is uncomfortable talking with PWS and that the public would recommend PWS avoid jobs requiring high speech demands and avoid talking to large audiences. A minority of participants agreed PWS are perceived publicly as capable or mentally healthy.

Conclusions The survey demonstrated misunderstandings and negative perceptions of PWS, especially when measured with perceived public opinion. Results can increase our understanding of content areas that should be included in anti-stigma programs for stuttering and highlight different methods for analyzing public perceptions of stuttering.

Acknowledgments
I would like to thank Alison Fearon and Julie Pate for their assistance with reliability checks on the qualitative data coding in this study. Funding for participant recruitment came from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University.
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