Authors: Hart AK, Breen LJ, Hennessey NW, Beilby JM
Title: Evaluation of an Integrated Fluency and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Intervention for Adolescents and Adults Who Stutter
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2024 67(4): 1003-1019
Year: 2024
Research Design: Case Series

PURPOSE: Developmental stuttering is a complex and multifaceted neurodevelopmental disorder that may cause pervasive negative consequences for adults who stutter (AWS). Historically, intervention for AWS has primarily addressed speech fluency, with less focus on the covert psychosocial aspects of the disorder. The purpose of this article is to report on a feasibility trial evaluating a novel integrated intervention that combines traditional stuttering management techniques with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for AWS. METHOD: Twenty-nine AWS participated in the feasibility trial. All participants successfully completed a combined fluency and ACT intervention, titled the fluency and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Stuttering (fACTS) Program. As this was a feasibility study, no control group was included. Intervention was administered by two certified practicing speech-language pathologists, over eight 60- to 90-min sessions. RESULTS: Generalized linear mixed modeling was used to determine change from pre- to post-intervention and follow-up. Significant pre- and post-intervention improvements in self-efficacy, psychosocial functioning, and psychological flexibility were observed, along with significant reductions in observable stuttering behaviors (i.e., stuttered speech frequency). Intervention gains for all variables of interest were maintained 3 and 6 months post-intervention. CONCLUSIONS: The fACTS Program was created to be a holistic and flexible intervention to promote self-efficacy beliefs and address stuttering-related psychosocial impacts and speech fluency goals of AWS. Preliminary results indicated positive improvement in all psychosocial outcomes (i.e., self-efficacy, psychosocial impact, and psychological flexibility) and observable speech fluency following completion of the program. Future clinical trials of the fACTS Program with an included control group will further investigate the mechanisms of change for the positive effects observed.

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