Enacted stigma and felt stigma experienced by adults who stutter

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69 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to (1) document the experiences of enacted stigma (external stigma, experienced discrimination) and felt stigma (anticipation and expectation of discrimination or negative treatment by others) in adults who stutter, (2) investigate their relationships to each other, and (3) investigate their relationships to global mental health. Method: Participants were 324 adults who stutter recruited from clinicians and self-help group leaders in the United States. Participants completed an anonymous web survey consisting of measures of enacted stigma, felt stigma, and global mental health. Data analysis focused on obtaining descriptive statistics for enacted stigma and felt stigma, and performing correlational analysis between these variables, and also between these variables and global mental health. Results: Most participants reported experiencing several different forms of social devaluation and negative treatment from other people at some point in their lives (i.e., enacted stigma), although they rarely experienced these events during the past year. Most participants agreed that they anticipate future stigmatizing experiences (i.e., felt stigma). Enacted stigma in the past year demonstrated a significant positive relationship to felt stigma. Both enacted stigma in the past year and felt stigma demonstrated significant negative relationships with global mental health. Enacted stigma in the past year and felt stigma were unique predictors of participants’ global mental health. Conclusions: People who stutter experience discrimination and social devaluation, and they anticipate future stigmatizing experiences. Both of these types of stigma, enacted and felt, are associated with reduced mental health in adults who stutter. Assessment and therapy with adults who stutter should address these aspects of stuttering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-61
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
StatePublished - 1 May 2018


  • Enacted stigma
  • Felt stigma
  • Mental health
  • Stuttering


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