Stuttering relationships

Hi my name is Jessica Escobedo, I am a CSUF student currently enrolled in a Fluency Class. My question is, if there is a direct correlation with stuttering and emotion. I have heard from others that emotion can sometimes influence stuttering, but I am curious to know if there is a neurological reason for it or something within our body that forms a correlation.

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Stuttering relationships — 2 Comments

  1. Jessica,

    Hello! Thank you for asking a great question to the professional panel, and best wishes in your studies! You are entering a truly rewarding field. I will answer regarding emotions and stuttering. Anxiety, for example, is known to enhance overt (or obvious/seen) stuttering behaviors, but it is not the root cause of stuttering (for example, the person didn’t start to stutter as a result of having anxiety in the first place from the get go)- does that make sense. However, a person who stutters, when placed in anxiety-inducing or emotion-inducing situation, can display increased disfluencies. Do know that the lived stuttering experience is very individualized, however, and people who stutter report different stuttering patterns with different emotions- like for example, anger. I know people who stutter who report that they display more disfluencies when angry, and I know people who say that when they are angry, especially while yelling in anger, they they display far less disfluencies. So you will see a variety of reports with overt stuttering behaviors and display of emotions.

    Regarding other etiologies of stuttering, I will let my colleagues have the chance to chime in here. If they don’t, then I will respond again and can explain some of the other etiologies that we know are connected to stuttering- there isn’t one particular exact cause, but there are aspects that can contribute to stuttering that we do know about. 🙂 I hope my response helped you, and take care.


  2. Jessica,

    HI! Thank you for your wonderful question and engaging with your education by asking questions. We learn through conversations, so thank you for helping us all dig in more about stuttering.

    Emotions and stuttering. There are many theories to stuttering, and, there is not SIMPLY ONE cause or influence. As Barry Guitar always said, it is multifactorial. There are many possible influences. Emotions is just one piece. Lets take one example, public speaking has historically been the number fear. So for people who have anxiety, fear, and not helpful or workable emotions about a public speaking situation, these emotions and thoughts (how we are talking neurology) will change how a person speaks in a variety of ways. From rate of speech, to utterance length, from pitch, to volume. From what language to use to fluency of speech. All of these process begin in the brain, so neurology is front and center and you can’t argue that.

    Now take a person who stutters who MIGHT historically beat themselves up about certain speaking situations. The same type fears, anxiety, hesitations, and emotions that someone who fear public speaking might have. A person who stutters, their speech will be influenced too by their emotions.

    Since we are talking about the brain and anxiety, what is anxiety? It is our mind in conflict with something we are thinking and doing and your core values. So if you think about when moments of “anxiety” and “fear” ask yourself, how do my values lead me through this anxiety? For example, someone who fears the phone or has negative thoughts and feelings toward the phone. The person might value communicating with others and at the same time their mind is creating repeated negative thoughts and their body is avoiding the phone. So their thoughts and actions are in conflict with their value of communicating with others. Thus physical reactions of heart rate increase, feeling nauseous, headache, sweating, and more.

    The above is ONE example and ONE thought process. There are many possible influences of stuttering. There is not enough room here for them all, and since stuttering impact and influences each person differently, there is not an exhaustive list either.

    Keep asking questions!
    With compassion and kindness,