Effects of Childhood Stuttering on Attention Regulation in Emotionally Arousing Situations

Alison Lee Bush


The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between children’s attention regulation and stuttering in three different emotionally arousing situations. Participants were 15 monolingual, Standard American English speaking, preschool children who stutter (CWS) and 17 monolingual Standard American English speaking, preschool children who do not stutter (CWNS) between the ages of 3; 0 (years; months) and 5; 7. All participants had speech, language, and hearing development within normal limits, with the exception of stuttering for CWS. Measures included two indices of attention regulation (i.e., looks away from the computer monitor and off-topic statements), that were observed during the first three minutes of a “book reading” narrative production task. This task occurred immediately after listening to a pre-recorded emotionally arousing background conversation (negative, positive, and neutral). It was predicted that children who stutter would less efficiently regulate their attention in a negative emotionally arousing situation. Main findings indicated that CWS take fewer looks away from the computer monitor than CWNS during the narrative task and that it initially takes CWS longer to first look away from the computer monitor than CWNS. Findings were taken to suggest that CWS fixate their attention on a stimulus and are less able to disengage when required and/or appropriate while CWNS have the ability to flexibly shift their attention away from the same stimulus, especially in a negative arousing situation.


stuttering, attention regulation, fluency

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15695/vurj.v2i0.2732

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