Responses of adults who stutter to the anticipation of stuttering

Eric S. Jackson, J. Scott Yaruss, Robert W. Quesal, Valerie Terranova, D. H. Whalen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Many people who stutter experience the phenomenon of anticipation-the sense that stuttering will occur before it is physically and overtly realized. A systematic investigation of how people who stutter respond to anticipation has not been previously reported. The purposes of this study were to provide self-report evidence of what people do in response to anticipation of stuttering and to determine the extent to which this anticipation occurs. Methods: Thirty adults who stutter indicated on a Likert rating scale the extent to which they anticipate stuttering and answered three open-ended (written) questions regarding how they respond to anticipation. Results: All participants reported experiencing anticipation at least "sometimes," and 77% of the participants reported experiencing anticipation "often" or "always." The extent to which participants reported experiencing anticipation was not related to stuttering severity, impact, or treatment history. Analysis of written responses revealed 24 major categories, which were heuristically divided into action or non-action responses. Categories representing avoidance and self-management strategies were further divided into 14 and 19 subcategories, respectively. Participants were just as likely to view anticipation as helpful as they were to view it as harmful. Conclusion: Findings demonstrate that most, if not all, adults who stutter experience anticipation, and the majority of adults who stutter report doing so at least often. Adults who stutter respond to this anticipation by altering the speech production process in various ways. Results highlight the importance of the role that anticipation plays in how stuttering behaviors manifest themselves.Educational Objectives: The reader will be able to: (a) summarize existing literature on the anticipation of stuttering; (b) describe the role and extent of anticipation of stuttering in adults; (c) describe the various ways that adults who stutter respond to anticipation; (d) describe the importance of measuring anticipation in clinical and research domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-51
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Anticipation
  • Expectation
  • Phenomenological research
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Stuttering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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