Effects of perceived causality on perceptions of persons who stutter

Michael P. Boyle, Gordon W. Blood, Ingrid M. Blood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of the perceived cause of stuttering on perceptions of persons who stutter (PWS) using a 7-item social distance scale, a 25-item adjective pair scale and a 2-item visual analogue scale. Two hundred and four university students rated vignettes which varied on describing a PWS with different causalities for stuttering (psychological, genetic, or unknown). Ratings differed significantly according to assigned causality. The vignette with the stuttering due to psychological causes was rated more negatively on 14 adjective pairs and the Social Distance Scale Index when compared to the ratings of vignettes with stuttering caused by either genetic or unknown causes. Interestingly, there were no significant differences between ratings of the vignettes attributing stuttering to either genetic or unknown causes. Neither familiarity with PWS nor the perceived curability of stuttering had any significant association to the ratings. Implications of findings regarding negative stereotypes, stigmatization and perceived causality for PWS are discussed. Educational objectives: Readers will be able to describe and explain: (1) research regarding negative stereotypes and stigma associated with stuttering, (2) research about attribution theory and stigma, (3) two methods used to evaluate stereotypes and stigma in adults, and (4) the negative effects on ratings of PWS due to psychological causality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-218
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Attitudes
  • Causality
  • Stereotypes
  • Stuttering


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