Our second article today is brought to you by Allison Forrester:
Iverach, L., Rapee, R. M., Wong, Q. J., Lowe, R. (2017) Maintenance of Social Anxiety in Stuttering: A Cognitive-Behavioral Model. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology. 26: 540-556. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
This article addresses the application of leading models, which describe cognitive-behavioral factors that contribute to the maintenance of social anxiety in nonstuttering people, to the experience of social anxiety for people who stutter. Social anxiety is a chronic anxiety disorder, which tends to be disabling as well, negatively impacting people’s lives. These models were applied to stuttering to determine cognitive-behavioral processes that may increase the persistence of social fears related to stuttering. They found that social anxiety in people who stutter may persist due to multiple factors, such as, negative social-evaluative cognitions, attentional biases, safety behaviors, fear of negative evaluation, anticipatory and post-event thinking. In conclusion, the identification of these factors may help inform and develop psychological treatment programs for the people who stutter. These treatments may address social anxiety and psychological needs of these individuals. The article discusses the processes that were found to be common in the models and they were used to identify five main ideas that may play a role in the maintenance of social anxiety in stuttering. These ideas are as follow: Socially anxious individuals assume that they will be negatively evaluated by others and overestimate the consequences of negative evaluation; socially anxious individuals form a negative mental representation of the self as seen by the audience, socially anxious individuals engage in negative self-focused attention and demonstrate attentional biases towards social threat; socially anxious individuals engage in cognitive and behavioral strategies to temporarily reduce anxiety; and socially anxious individuals engage in anticipatory and post-event processing.
Social interaction and communication are essential parts of an individual’s life and are required in almost every facet of daily life. Stuttering is a complex communication disorder which occurs in ~4-5% of the population. Social anxiety is a chronic, disabling anxiety disorder that occurs in ~8-13% of the population. Research shows that ~22-60% of people who stutter (adults) also have social anxiety and ~24% of adolescents who stutter have social anxiety. In summary, people who stutter may experience negative social reactions over and over, which leads them to have greater social anxiety based on the belief that negative evaluations will occur in social situations. The findings in this article were what I expected to discover.