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Stuttering in adults: the acoustic startle response, temperamental traits, and biological factors
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Logopedi.
2007 (English)In: Journal of Communication Disorders, ISSN 0021-9924, E-ISSN 1873-7994, Vol. 40, no 1, 1-41 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relation between stuttering and a range of variables of possible relevance, with the main focus on neuromuscular reactivity, and anxiety. The explorative analysis also included temperament, biochemical variables, heredity, preonset lesions, and altered auditory feedback (AAF). An increased level of neuromuscular reactivity in stuttering adults has previously been reported by [Guitar, B. (2003). Acoustic startle responses and temperament in individuals who stutter. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 46, 233-240], also indicating a link to anxiety and temperament. The present study included a large number of variables in order to enable analysis of subgroups and relations between variables. Totally 32 stuttering adults were compared with nonstuttering controls. The acoustic startle eyeblink response was used as a measure of neuromuscular reactivity. No significant group difference was found regarding startle, and startle was not significantly correlated with trait anxiety, stuttering severity, or AAF. Startle was mainly related to calcium and prolactin. The stuttering group had significantly higher scores for anxiety and childhood ADHD. Two subgroups of stuttering were found, with high versus low traits of childhood ADHD, characterized by indications of preonset lesions versus heredity for stuttering. The study does not support the view that excessive reactivity is a typical characteristic of stuttering. The increased anxiety is suggested to mainly be an effect of experiences of stuttering. Learning outcomes: As a result of reading this article, the reader will be able to: (a) critically discuss the literature regarding stuttering in relation to acoustic startle, anxiety, and temperament; (b) describe the effect of calcium on neuromuscular reactivity; (c) discuss findings supporting the importance of early neurological incidents in some cases of stuttering, and the relation between such incidents and traits of ADHD or ADD; and (d) discuss the role of genetics in stuttering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 40, no 1, 1-41 p.
Keyword [en]
stuttering, startle reaction, temperament, calcium, closed head injuries
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121712DOI: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2006.04.001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-121712DiVA: diva2:306187
Available from: 2010-03-29 Created: 2010-03-29 Last updated: 2010-04-09Bibliographically approved

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