Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Stephen Tasko

Second Advisor

Helen Sharp


Purpose: Stuttering therapy programs can be effective in reducing the frequency of stuttering events. However, one complication of some stuttering treatment programs is that speech patterns following treatment can sound unnatural to listeners. While altered intonation patterns have been implicated as possible cause of unnatural sounding speech, such a relationship has not been empirically examined. The goal of the current study is to investigate whether measures of speaking fundamental frequency (SFF) are associated with listener ratings of speech naturalness in adults who stutter following participation in a stuttering treatment program.

Methods: Twenty nine adults who stutter and just completed an intensive stuttering treatment program were drawn from a larger data base of adults who stutter and normally fluent speakers. Measures of mean speaking fundamental frequency (SFF) and SFF variability were made from audio recordings of oral reading samples. These measures were correlated with previously collected listener ratings of speech naturalness.

Results: Mean SFF and SFF variation were not significantly correlated with post-treatment naturalness ratings. A negative correlation was observed between post-treatment stuttering severity scores and measures of SFF variability indicating that those with the lowest stuttering severity measures were associated with largest SFF variability.

Conclusions: Measures of speaking fundamental frequency did not correlate with listener’s ratings of speech naturalness. It is possible the SFF variability measures used in the current study were too coarse to reflect any relevant anomalies in the intonation patterns present in the speech samples.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access