Measurement of Speech Effort During Fluency-Inducing Conditions in Adults Who Do and Do Not Stutter

Ingham, Roger J.; Bothe, Anne K.; Jang, Erin; Yates, Lauren; Cotton, John; Seybold, Irene
October 2009
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Oct2009, Vol. 52 Issue 5, p1286
Academic Journal
Purpose: To investigate the effects of 4 fluency-inducing (FI) conditions on self-rated speech effort and other variables in adults who stutter and in normally fluent controls. Method: Twelve adults with persistent stuttering and 12 adults who had never stuttered each completed 4 ABA-format experiments. During A phases, participants read aloud normally. During each B phase, they read aloud in 1 of 4 FI conditions: auditory masking, chorus reading, whispering, and rhythmic speech. Dependent variables included self-judged speech effort and observer-judged stuttering frequency, speech rate, and speech naturalness. Results: For the persons who stuttered, FI conditions reduced stuttering and speech effort, but only for chorus reading were these improvements obtained without diminishing speech naturalness or speaking rate. By contrast, speech effort increased during all FI conditions for adults who did not stutter. Conclusions: Self-rated speech effort differentiated the effects of 4 FI conditions on speech performance for adults who stuttered, with chorus reading best approximating normally fluent speech. More generally, self-ratings of speech effort appeared to constitute an independent, reliable, and validly interpretable dimension of fluency that may be useful in the measurement and treatment of stuttering.


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