Major discrimination due to stuttering and its association with quality of life

Michael P. Boyle, Madeline R. Cheyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aimed to identify what types of major discrimination have been experienced by adults who stutter throughout their lives, and investigate the association between the number of different types of major discrimination events experienced and quality of life. Methods: Measures of quality of life (Kemp Quality of Life Scale) and major discrimination (adapted Major Experiences of Discrimination Scale) were completed by 303 adults who stutter. Correlational and regression analyses were conducted with these variables. Results: A majority (56%) of the participants had experienced at least one episode of major discrimination due to stuttering during their lives. The major discrimination experiences most commonly reported included not being hired for a job and being discouraged by a teacher or advisor from pursuing certain careers or jobs because of stuttering. There was a significant negative relationship between quality of life and major discrimination. Increased major discrimination predicted lower quality of life even after taking into account demographic variables and severity of physical speech disruption. Conclusions: The findings of a negative association between major discrimination and quality of life add support to the notion that reducing societal stigma related to stuttering should be a priority of the field. Discriminatory practices of listeners constitute a social-environmental barrier to communicative participation and quality of life in people who stutter and should be addressed by professionals in the field of speech-language pathology and other stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106051
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Discrimination
  • Quality of life
  • Stuttering


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