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Original Article

IJMDC. 2020; 4(3): 645-651

Do males who stutter also experience excessive worry: a case-control study conducted in Saudi Arabia comparing worry among Saudi male stutterers with non-stutterers

Mohammed Nasser Alghunaim, Abdulaziz Mamoon Abdullah, Saleh Alshaibi, Omar Alfehaid, Mohammed Albagami, Aamir Omair, Irfan Anjum.


Background: Stuttering is defined as a difficulty in speaking fluently. It starts in childhood and it can be a lifelong problem. Stuttering can impact the person negatively, affecting their social, educational, and occupational experiences. Psychological issues such as anxiety can be common with the stuttering individuals displaying higher anxiety levels than the non-stuttering individuals. This study aims to assess the level of worry in stutterers compared to non-stutterers. It was hypothesized that stutterers show significantly more anxiety and worry as compared to non-stutterers.
Methodology: This was a case-control study conducted among stutterers (cases) and non-stutterers (controls) sampled from two hospitals and two stuttering social support groups in Saudi Arabia. The anxiety and worry were measured using the General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ). The Subjective Stuttering Scale (SSS) was used to measure the severity of stuttering in the cases.
Results: The study included 90 stutterers and 140 controls. The stuttering group had significantly higher scores on both the GAD-7 and PSWQ (p < 0.01). A positive correlation was found in the stutterers for the severity of stuttering and the GAD-7/PSWQ scores (r > 0.40).
Conclusion: Stutterers were found to have a higher degree of anxiety and worry as compared to non-stutterers. Also, this level of anxiety and worry was associated with the severity of stuttering. This indicates the importance to increase the level of awareness about the emotional impacts that are associated with stuttering, such as worry and anxiety. Early screening and treatment should be offered to stutterers to reduce emotional distress.

Key words: Anxiety, GAD-7, Stutter, Speech difficulty, PSWQ, SSS

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