Exploring the Link between Stuttering and Phonology: A Review and Implications for Treatment

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Abstract

Three lines of research have been pursued in the literature to study the link between phonology and stuttering: (1) effects of phonological complexity on the location (loci) of stutter events; (2) outcomes of standardized test measures in children who do and do not stutter; and (3) studies of phonological encoding in children and adults who stutter. This review synthesizes findings from these three lines of research to address the purported link between phonology and stuttering and its potential implications for stuttering treatment. Results from the loci studies offer some support for the role of phonological complexity in the occurrence of stuttering. Studies of performance in standardized tests of phonology have not identified differences between children who do and do not stutter. Studies of phonological encoding have been equivocal in reporting differences between children and adults who stutter and those who do not stutter. Several cautions are raised in interpreting the findings from the discussed studies, and despite the mixed findings, some implications for treatments are considered.

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