Anxiety and stuttering: continuing to explore a complex relationship

Lisa Iverach*, Ross G. Menzies, Sue O'Brian, Ann Packman, Mark Onslow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The relationship between anxiety and stuttering has been widely studied. However, a review conducted more than 10 years ago (Menzies, Onslow, & Packman, 1999) identified 5 methodological issues thought to preclude consistent research findings regarding the nature of this relationship. The purpose of the present review was to determine whether methodological improvements have occurred since the Menzies et al. (1999) review. Method: Literature published since the Menzies et al. review was evaluated with regard to the 5 methodological issues identified in that review: (a) the construct of anxiety, (b) trait anxiety measures, (c) participant numbers, (d) treatment status of participants, and (e) speaking tasks. Results: Despite some remaining ambiguous findings, research published since the Menzies et al. review has provided far stronger evidence of a relationship between stuttering and anxiety, and has focused more on social anxiety, expectancies of social harm, and fear of negative evaluation. Conclusion: The aims of future research should be to improve research design, increase statistical power, employ multidimensional measures of anxiety, and further develop anxiolytic treatment options for people who stutter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-232
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • stuttering
  • anxiety
  • review
  • social phobia
  • fear of negative evaluation


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