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The role of temperament in stuttering frequency and impact in children under 7

Delpeche, S., Millard, S. & Kelman, E. (2022). The role of temperament in stuttering frequency and impact in children under 7. Journal of Communication Disorders, 97, article number 106201. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2022.106201


Increased emotional reactivity and decreased regulation have been associated with increased stuttering severity and frequency in preschool children who stutter (CWS) and may be predictors for the development of negative reactions to stuttering in young children. Understanding which children are likely to be impacted to a greater or lesser degree has implications for clinical decision making. Associations between temperament and stuttering impact have been explored with older CWS, but not with preschool CWS.

To investigate the relationship between temperament (specifically emotional reactivity and regulation) and both stuttering frequency and stuttering impact in preschool CWS.

Data collected at initial assessment for 119 young CWS (age range= 3;00–6;11 years) at a specialist centre for stuttering in London, UK were analysed. The following measures were completed: The Children's Behaviour Questionnaire-Short Form (Putnam & Rothbart, 2006); Palin Parent Rating Scales (Millard & Davis, 2016); The Communication Attitude Test for Preschool and Kindergarten Children Who Stutter (Vanryckeghem & Brutten, 2007); and a stuttering frequency measure.

Emotional reactivity and regulation were not significantly associated with stuttering frequency. Higher scores on negative reactivity were significantly associated with an increased impact of stuttering on the child (from parents’ perspective), but not significantly associated with child-reported communication attitude. Positive reactivity was not significantly associated with parent-reported impact of stuttering or child-reported communication attitude. Additional investigation revealed negative affect as a significant predictor of parent-reported impact of stuttering before and after adjusting for age.

The results provide evidence to support the role of temperament on the impact that stuttering has in the early years. While the directionality of the relationship between negative reactivity and impact of stuttering is unknown, the importance of targeting emotional reactions in therapy for young CWS is implicated.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
[thumbnail of 1-s2.0-S002199242200020X-main.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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