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Comparing speaker-based and observer-based measures of the perception of physical tension during stuttering

Tichenor, Seth (2013) Comparing speaker-based and observer-based measures of the perception of physical tension during stuttering. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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People who stutter commonly experience increased levels of physical tension during moments of stuttering. These increased levels of physical tension have been shown to vary in location of the body and from individual to individual (Brutten & Shoemaker, 1967; Wingate, 1964). Though treatment of increased physical tension often involves speaker self-evaluation (see Van Riper, 1973), a widely-used assessment of physical tension relies on a clinician’s observations (SSI-4; Riley, 2009). This study proposed to answer the question, “how do clinicians’ perceptions of physical tension compare to the speaker’s perceptions of physical tension?” Ten adults who stutter recruited from the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Stuttering Association (NSA), were audio-video recorded in select speaking samples. Two expert speech and language pathologists who are also board recognized specialists in fluency disorders (BRS-FD) evaluated selected samples from each participant who stutters using the SSI-4 and a Perception of Physical Tension Form developed for this study. Participants who stutter evaluated themselves using the same forms and discussed their experience of physical tension during an interview so key themes related to physical tension could be identified and compared to results from the clinicians’ observations and test results.
Results revealed that physical tension occurring in certain locations, such as the abdomen, chest, throat, cheeks, and tongue, may not be perceived by clinicians. Thematic analysis revealed that the speakers’ experience of physical tension is highly variable and changes over time, possibly relating to other themes of acceptance and self-perception. These results warrant the development of a more specific method of perceiving physical tension using self-reports of speakers. Such assessment may lead to better diagnostic and therapeutic outcomes.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tichenor, Sethset36@pitt.eduSET36
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorYaruss, J. Scottjsyaruss@pitt.eduJSYARUSS
Committee MemberLeslie, Paulapleslie@pitt.eduPLESLIE
Committee MemberShaiman, Susanshaiman@pitt.eduSHAIMAN
Date: 12 September 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 June 2013
Approval Date: 12 September 2013
Submission Date: 10 June 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 95
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: This thesis compares speaker self reports and observer perceptions of physical tension during moments of stuttering.
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2013 15:04
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:13


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