The influence of self-disclosure on listeners' perceptions of male and female children who stutter

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Reed, Olivia Christine

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The literature suggests that self-disclosure of stuttering may positively impact the listener’s perception of persons who stutter. This phenomenon, although investigated with adults, has not been studied with regards to children who stutter. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of self-disclosure on listener perceptions of children who stutter. Specifically, this study examined whether listener perceptions of a child speaker who stutters are contingent upon the presence or absence of a self-disclosure statement prior to the speaker initiating his or her monologue, and whether listener perceptions are susceptible to gender bias. Child participants (n = 71) between the ages of 6 years, 0 months and 12 years, 11 months were randomly assigned to view two of the four possible videos (male self-disclosure, male no self-disclosure, female self-disclosure, and female no self-disclosure). Directly following the viewing of both videos, participants completed a survey analyzing their perceptions of the speaker for various traits related to personality and intelligence. Results for effects of self-disclosure achieved significance for all ten questions. With regard to gender, there was a significant difference for all questions except ‘more unintelligent’ and ‘less distracted’; however, when the gender viewing possibilities were compared across the three distinct groups (distinguished by whether the video pairing included the male speaker only, the female speaker only, or both a male and female speaker), there was no significant difference found. This suggests that the difference across responses are only present when all three gender groups are collapsed, which further indicates that gender did not have a distinct impact on the responses to the questions. Additionally, there was no significant interaction between self-disclosure and gender, suggesting that these two factors have independent, un-related influence on listener perception. In summary, the present findings indicate that the use of self-disclosure may positively impact children’s perceptions of other children who stutter, and that these perceptions are not uniquely impacted by gender.



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