Authors: Johnson G, Onslow M, Horton S, Kefalianos E
Title: Psychosocial features of stuttering for school-age children: A systematic review
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2023 58(5): 1829-1845
Year: 2023
Research Design: Systematic Review

BACKGROUND: Contemporary clinical and empirical perspectives indicate that management of the psychosocial features of stuttering is fundamental for effective treatment. Interventions that improve psychosocial outcomes for school-age children who stutter are, therefore, needed. AIMS: This systematic review identifies what psychosocial outcomes have been explored in existing school-age clinical research, the measures used and the potential treatment effects. This will provide guidance for developing interventions that reflect contemporary perspectives of stuttering management. METHODS & PROCEDURES: A total of 14 databases and three conference proceedings were searched for clinical reports of psychosocial outcomes of children aged 6-12 years. The review did not include pharmacological interventions. Psychosocial measures and outcomes were analysed in each study based on data recorded pre-treatment, immediately post-treatment and for any follow-up assessments. MAIN CONTRIBUTIONS: Of the 4051 studies identified from the databases, a total of 22 studies met criteria for inclusion in the review. From these 22 studies, the review identified four prominent psychosocial domains that have been explored in school-age clinical research to date: Impact of stuttering, communication attitude, anxiety and speech satisfaction. These domains vary in measurement and effect sizes. Two behavioural treatments were associated with anxiety reduction, even though they did not contain anxiolytic procedures. No evidence of potential treatment effects emerged for communication attitudes. Quality of life-an important psychosocial domain pertinent to health economics-did not feature in school-age clinical reports. CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: The psychosocial features of stuttering need to be managed during the school years. Three psychosocial domains-impact of stuttering, anxiety and speech satisfaction-show evidence of potential treatment effects. This review provides direction for future clinical research so that speech-language pathologists can effectively and holistically manage school-age children who stutter.

Access: Open Access