A Pilot Study of the Psychological Impact of the Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction Program On People Who Stutter

S. De Veer, A. Brouwers, W. Evers, W. Tomic

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    Abstract In general, people who stutter feel hampered in their communication with others and suffer from stress and anxiety when they have to speak. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program has proved to be successful in reducing stress, fear and anxiety in many studies involving a large variety of subjects. The aim of this pilot study was to examine the psychological impact of the MBSR program among persons who stutter in reducing the subjects’ stress and anxiety about speech situations and improving their self-efficacy beliefs, coping, locus of control and attitude towards such situations. 37 persons who stutter (29 males and 8 females) completed the MBSR program. They were matched on sex, age, and education before being divided at random into two groups: a trained group and a waiting list group. The waiting list group also received training at a later date. Measurements were taken before the MBSR program began, immediately after it had ended, and, finally, four weeks after the end. Stress was measured on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983); anxiety about speech situations on the Speech Situation Checklist (SSC; Brutten, 1975); stutterers' confidence for entering and maintaining fluency in a variety of speaking situations on the Self-Efficacy Scale for Adults who Stutter (SESAS; Ornstein & Manning, 1985); coping on the Perceptions of Stuttering Inventory (PSI; Woolf, 1967); locus of control on the Locus of Control of Behaviour Scale (LCB; Craig, Franklin, & Andrews, 1984); and attitude towards speech situations on the condensed S-scale (S-24; Andrews & Cutler, 1974). The results showed that immediately after the MBSR program and four weeks later, the program participants appeared to suffer less from stress and related complaints such as tension and fatigue; they showed less anxiety about speech situations; they displayed more confidence in approaching speech situations (self-efficacy trust); they felt more in control of life events (locus of control); they increasingly used a decisive problem-oriented coping style (problem-oriented coping); and they had a more positive attitude towards speech situations. The effect sizes ranged from average (self-efficacy beliefs, coping, and attitude towards speech situations) to large (stress, anxiety, and locus of control). The findings of this study showed that the participants suffered less than before from stress and anxiety about speech situations; that they had developed a more positive attitude towards speech situations; and that they appeared to have improved levels of internal locus of control and problem-focused coping behavior. The conclusion is therefore that the MBSR program could offer a meaningful supplement to stuttering therapy.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalDefault journal
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction; Stutterers; Stress; Anxiety; Self-Efficacy, Coping, Locus of Control


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