Cognitive anxiety as a function of speaker role for fluent speakers and persons who stutter
Manning, Walter H.
Neimeyer, Robert A.
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Journal of fluency disorders. 2003 Fall; 28(3): 167-85; quiz 185-6.
Fransella [Personal change and reconstruction. London: Academic Press] suggested that persons who stutter experience a lack of meaningfulness of their fluent speaker role and demonstrated that a Personal Construct Psychology approach to therapy with persons who stutter may be useful. Few studies, however, have investigated her claims. This study investigated the "meaningfulness" with which fluent and disfluent persons were able to construe themselves in stuttering and non-stuttering speaker roles. Results indicated that persons who stuttered displayed greater cognitive anxiety (difficulty integrating their experience meaningfully) in a fluent speaking role than in a stuttering role, whereas the reverse was found for fluent speakers. These results suggest the relevance of assessing and addressing the meaningfulness of the "dominant" disfluent speaker role in treating persons who stutter, insofar as a tendency to maintain the predictability of this familiar role may contribute to stuttering maintenance and relapse. The refined guidelines developed for applying the Cognitive Anxiety Scale to the content analysis of self-descriptions of persons who stutter can make a practical contribution to this effort. EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES: The reader will learn about and be able to (1) describe the potential influence of speaker roles in the maintenance of stuttering; (2) define cognitive anxiety and how it relates to meaningful interpretations of experience; (3) detect potential signs that a person who stutters may be engaged in "defending" a stutterer role; and (4) describe the clinical implications of this view of stuttering maintenance.
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