Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences


Speech Pathology and Audiology

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


A Study of the Effect of Avoidance on Stuttering Frequency in an Adaptation Situation

I Introduction

Much of the recent research related to stuttering has been concerned with the adaptation effect. The adaptation effect in stuttering refers to the phenomenon in which the frequency of stutterer continues to read the same passage aloud a number of times. During these readings each successive passage evidences fewer stutterings until a plateau is attained.

Much of the literature has ascribed great importance to avoidance mechanisms as maintaining causal factors. These avoidance mechanisms may be generally classified in two categories which are word avoidance and situation avoidance. In word avoidance the stutter may avoid feared or difficult words. In situation avoidance the stutter may avoid speaking situations which place speech pressure or emotional pressure upon him. These two general types of avoidance mechanisms are generally regarded as maintaining causal factors and are often stated as such in the literature. There is no objective study of this relationship on record to the knowledge of this experimenter. This study was designed to answer the question: "Does deliberate avoidance of feared words increase the frequency of stuttering despite the adaptation effect?"