Faculty Research and Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2011


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between articulation rate, frequency and duration of disfluencies of different types, and temperament in preschool children who stutter (CWS). In spontaneous speech samples from 19 children CWS (mean age = 3:9; years: months), we measured articulation rate, the frequency and duration of (a) sound prolongations; (b) soundsyllable repetitions; (c) single syllable whole word repetitions; and (d) clusters. Temperament was assessed with the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire (Rothbart et al., 2001). There was a significant negative correlation between articulation rate and average duration of sound prolongations (p<0.01), and between articulation rate and frequency of stuttering-like disfluencies (SLDs) (p<0.05). No other relationships proved statistically significant. Results do not support models of stuttering development that implicate particular characteristics of temperament as proximal contributors to stuttering; however, this is likely due to the fact that current methods, including the ones used in the present study, do not allow for the identification of a functional relationship between temperament and speech production. Findings do indicate that for some CWS, relatively longer sound prolongations co-occur with relatively slower speech rate, which suggests that sound prolongations, across a range of durations, may represent a distinct type of SLD, not just in their obvious perceptual characteristics, but in their potential influence on overall speech production at multiple levels.


This article was originally published in the Journal of Communication Disorders. 2011; 44(1): 116-129 DOI: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2010.09.001