Anxiety in 11-year-old children who stutter: findings from a prospective longitudinal community sample

Kylie A. Smith*, Lisa Iverach, Susan O’Brian, Fiona Mensah, Elaina Kefalianos, Anna Hearne, Sheena Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: To examine if a community sample of 11-year-old children with persistent stuttering have higher anxiety than children who have recovered from stuttering and nonstuttering controls. Method: Participants in a community cohort study were categorized into 3 groups: (a) those with persistent stuttering, (b) those with recovered stuttering, and (c) nonstuttering controls. Linear regression modeling compared outcomes on measures of child anxiety and emotional and behavioral functioning for the 3 groups. Results: Without adjustment for covariates (unadjusted analyses), the group with persistent stuttering showed significantly increased anxiety compared with the recovered stuttering group and nonstuttering controls. The group with persistent stuttering had a higher number of children with autism spectrum disorder and/or learning difficulties. Once these variables were included as covariates in subsequent analysis, there was no difference in anxiety, emotional and behavioral functioning, or temperament among groups. Conclusion: Although recognized to be associated with stuttering in clinical samples, anxiety was not higher in school-age children who stutter in a community cohort. It may be that anxiety develops later or is less marked in community cohorts compared with clinical samples. We did, however, observe higher anxiety scores in those children who stuttered and had autism spectrum disorder or learning difficulties. Implications and recommendations for research are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1211-1222
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2017


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