Psychological impact of the Lidcombe Program of early stuttering intervention

Sarah Woods*, Julia Shearsby, Mark Onslow, Denis Burnham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)


The Lidcombe Program is an operant treatment for stuttering in preschool children for which favourable outcome and social validity data have been published. The treatment involves parental praise for stutter-free speech in children's everyday speaking environments, and occasional correction of stuttered speech. Theoretical perspectives on the origins of stuttering have prompted suggestions that the Lidcombe Program may have an adverse psychological impact on children. The present preliminary investigation sought to identify any evidence of such a systematic, pernicious trend, which might justify statistically powerful investigations of the issue with large subject numbers. Subjects were eight preschool children who were successfully treated with the Lidcombe Program. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) detected any posttreatment behavioural markers of changes in children such as anxiety, aggression, withdrawal or depression. The Attachment Q-Set (AQS) measured any changes in the quality of the attachment relationship between child and mother over the course of treatment. These case studies revealed no evidence of a systematic trend in either. In fact, CBCL data suggested improvements in the children after treatment. It is concluded that there is no reason to doubt that the Lidcombe Program is a safe treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Lidcombe Program
  • Preschool
  • Psychological effects
  • Stuttering
  • Treatment

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