Toward a better understanding of the process of disclosure events among people who stutter

Michael P. Boyle, Rodney Gabel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify components of disclosure events among people who stutter, and identify possible relations between these components in order to understand how disclosure events unfold. Method: Twelve adults who stutter participated in semi-structured interviews focused on disclosure of stuttering. Participants were purposefully selected due to their self-reported history of disclosing stuttering. Qualitative content analysis using a grounded theory approach helped to identify relevant themes and subthemes related to the process of disclosure of stuttering. Results: The findings describe the complex process of disclosure as being comprised of antecedents (including considerations about when and why to disclose), the disclosure event itself (including the content and form of the disclosure, most and least helpful methods of disclosure, as well as immediate listener reactions), and the perceived outcomes of the disclosure at individual, dyadic, and societal/contextual levels. These components of the process are linked and affect one another, resulting in a feedback loop. Disclosure methods are context-dependent and not mutually exclusive within individuals who stutter. Conclusion: Professionals and advocates gaining a more nuanced understanding of the process of disclosure events can increase their ability to help people who stutter make optimal decisions about disclosure. Making good disclosure decisions can help PWS improve their quality of life and reduce a variety of environmental communicative barriers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105746
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Concealment
  • Disclosure
  • Openness
  • Stuttering


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