Recovery and Relapse: Perspectives From Adults Who Stutter.



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR


Purpose Recovery and relapse relating to stuttering are often defined in terms of the presence or absence of certain types of speech disfluencies as observed by clinicians and researchers. However, it is well documented that the experience of the overall stuttering condition involves more than just the production of stuttered speech disfluencies. This study sought to identify what recovery and relapse mean to people who stutter based on their own unique experiences to account for both the stuttering behaviors and the broader adverse impact of the condition. Method In this study, 228 adults who stutter participated in a mixed-methods exploration of the terms "recovery" and "relapse." Participants categorized themselves on whether they considered themselves to have recovered or experienced relapse. Data were analyzed thematically through the lens of the speaker self-categorizations to determine how adults who stutter define recovery and relapse regarding stuttering. Results Results indicate that, to adults who stutter, recovery from stuttering is associated with increases in positive affective/emotional, behavioral, and cognitive reactions to the condition and simultaneous decreases in associated negative constructs. These group-level definitions did not change as a function of whether respondents reported that they had experienced recovery or relapse themselves. Discussion Recovery or relapse from stuttering behaviors can occur independently from recovery or relapse from the broader adverse impact related to the condition, suggesting that researchers and clinicians should consider recovery and relapse as involving more than just a reduction or an increase in observable behaviors. These findings support recent research evidence further specifying the many individual phenotypes of stuttering, in that pathways to recovery and relapse can be experienced in different ways for people with different stuttering phenotype profiles.

Open Access