Authors: Franklin DE, Taylor CL, Hennessey NW, Beilby JM
Title: Investigating Factors Related to the Effects of Time-Out on Stuttering in Adults
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2008 43(3): 283-299
Year: 2008
Research Design: Non Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 04/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - N
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - Y
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Background: Response-contingent time-out has been shown to be an effective technique for enhancing fluency in people who stutter. However, the factors that determine individual responsiveness to time-out are not well understood. Aims: The study investigated the effectiveness of using response-contingent time-out to reduce stuttering frequency in adults who stutter. In addition, it investigated the predictive value of participants' stutter severity, age, previous treatment history, and type of stutter on the responsiveness to time-out conditioning. Methods and Procedures: Sixty people who stutter participated in the study. Half were exposed to time-out following each moment of stuttering over a 40-min period, the remaining participants acted as controls. Outcomes and Results: Results showed that individuals who stutter are highly responsive to time-out, and that the participants with a more severe stutter responded better than those with a mild stutter. To a lesser degree, previous treatment and speech rate also influenced treatment success. Age and type of stutter did not, although the proportion of repetition types of stutters increased over the experiment conditions, with prolongations and blocks decreasing, for the treatment group. Conclusions: This simple operant conditioning treatment method is effective in reducing stuttering. Individuals respond to time-out regardless of their age, type of stutter, stuttering severity or treatment history, thus it is a treatment methodology potentially suitable for all clients. This study investigated initial responsiveness to time-out; therefore, further research is necessary to determine the durability of fluency over time.

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