Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Hope Gerlach-Houck, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Linda Reeser, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Katherine Rigley, M.A.


Mental health, speech therapy, stigma, stuttering

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of the current study is to better understand mental health professionals' beliefs, reactions, overall impression, and familiarity with stuttering to gain insight into areas where they may need more support. Some people who stutter develop increased levels of anxiety because of negative evaluation from the public (Iverach & Rapee, 2014). It is likely that a sub-group of people who stutter may benefit from mental health services; however, misinformation about stuttering may serve as a barrier in effective service provision for those who work with people who stutter (Ginsberg & Wexler, 2000). Quantitative survey data (Public Opinion Survey of Human Attributes-Stuttering; POSHA-S) is supplemented with qualitative data (open-ended questions) to explore mental health professionals’ understanding of stuttering. Results indicate that mental health professionals hold generally positive beliefs, reactions, and overall impression of stuttering. There is evidence, however, of uncertainty regarding the causes of stuttering and affirming responses to stuttering. Results demonstrate that mental health professionals’ familiarity with stuttering predicts reactions toward stuttering. The results suggest a need for collaboration between mental health professionals and speech-language pathologists to support mental health professionals in the direction of providing more equitable services for people who stutter.