Factors Contributing to Stuttering

  • Socioeconomic status. There is not clear evidence on this, but it is thought that middle- and upper-class children are more likely to stutter. This may be due to high expectations, in which case a parent would become more concerned when a child displayed speech difficulties.
  • Gender: boys are more likely to stutter than girls, at an international ratio of about 4:1. This could be due to the environments in which boys are raised. It also should be considered that boys are more susceptible than girls to a number of various disorders. Also to be considered is biology; maybe the high prevalence of stuttering in boys is due to high testosterone levels.
  • Children with relatives who stutter are more likely to develop a stutter themselves
  • A relatively large number of children with mental disabilities stutter
  • Bilingual children are more likely to stutter than children who grow up speaking only one langauge

Onset of Stuttering

  • Childhood stuttering is most likely to appear during preschool years, before the age of five.
  • Onset is usually reported to occur between 32 and 46 months. However, it is likely that the child had symptoms before this point.

Levels of Progression in Stuttering: Three Views

Bluemel's “Primary” and “Secondary” Stages

  • Primary stage is exhibited by children at or around onset. This stage consists of prolongations and repetitions that are not particularly distressing.
  • The secondary stage is is entered when a child is aware of the speech abnormalities and must physically struggle against mental blocks during speech. Avoidance, substitutions, and other associated behaviors emerge during the secondary stage

Bloodstein's “Four Phases”

  • Phase I occurs during preschool years. Difficulties are episodic, mixed with normal speech, and may be overlooked or go unnoticed. Stuttering is conditional, and usually triggered by intense emotions, an overwhelming amount of speech, or pressure to communicate. Repetition is the main symptom, and should be fairly noticeable. Most children show little to no concern about the abnormalities.
  • Phase II is during elementary school. The disorder is now chronic. The child knows that he/she stutters, yet still does not have much concern about the disorder. Symptoms tend to increase when the child is extremely excited or speaking quickly.
  • Phase III is associated with late childhood and early adolescence. Stuttering, again, is situational. The stutterer views some words or sounds as more challenging than others. No avoidance of situations, and little to no signs of fear or embarrassment.
  • Phase IV is late adolescence, and may extend into adulthood. Extremely fearful anticipations of stuttering, as well as the fear of certain words, sounds, and situations themselves. The stutterer is now habitually avoiding words, speech situations, or other emotional situations.

Van Riper' Four Tracks

  • A good amount of consistencies with Bloodstein's model
  • Asserted that each person's exact path of development is different. More specifically, he believed in four paths of development.
  • First path of development is similar to Bloodstein's phases, the rest are very different

General Progression

  • All of these views describe stuttering as gradual