An exploration of the experiences of women who stammer

Prof Doc Thesis


Weingarten, Laura B 2012. An exploration of the experiences of women who stammer. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Pyschology
AuthorsWeingarten, Laura B
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

The experiences of women who stammer have not been explored for over 30 years, with most stammering research recruiting only men and not differentiating the results by gender. Therefore, to date, stammering research can be seen as exploring male or androgynous stammering. Furthermore, speech and language therapies (SLT) that are based on this research are arguably inappropriate in addressing the experiences of women who stammer. In light of the above, this study aimed to explore the experiences of women who stammer, whilst taking into account the influence of societal gender norms on these experiences.
12 women were recruited from either the British Stammering Association (BSA) or the City Lit (college that offers SLT). Individual interviews were conducted using semi-structured interviews and the data was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).
The four main findings suggested that stammering had a profound influence on the women’s lives. They described other’s reactions to their stammers as mostly unhelpful and thought this was due to a lack of understanding and mediated by societal gender norms. These negative reactions consequently impacted on their self-perception. Stammering was also found to affect relationships, starting within the family and spreading to other future relationships. There was a trend to want to break these relationship difficulties with their own children. The findings showed that negative experiences in school, due to bullying and lack of teacher support, led to the women feeling as though their potential was overlooked. They then described seeking jobs with minimal speaking or ‘pushing’ themselves academically and professionally. Finally, the women described their experiences of stammering as a journey, whereby they started off ‘hiding’ it from others and then learnt to accept it, with the support of SLT.
The research findings are discussed in relation to the literature and clinical implications are suggested.

Keywordsstammerers; women; interpretative phenomenological analysis; speech and language therapies
Year2012
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.15123/PUB.3029
Publication dates
PrintMay 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Jul 2013
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85z2q

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