News

Study aims to understand the workplace experiences of people who stutter


8 October 2010

Speech Pathology researchers from the University of Sydney are calling for participants for an online study that aims to better understand the experiences of people who stutter and how this impacts on their working life.

"Working is a very important part of people's lives and one that often relies on effective communication," says project leader Dr Geraldine Bricker-Katz.

"It is known that people who stutter experience limitations to achieving their educational and career goals, so it's somewhat surprising that this is one of the first studies to directly investigate the workplace experiences of people who stutter."

The innovative study aims to;

  • identify the occupational choices of people who stutter,
  • assess their attitudes to communication in the workplace,
  • explore if stuttering is related to work-stress.

According to Dr Bricker-Katz, recent research has shown that stuttering can lead to high-levels of social anxiety including a fear of speaking and avoidance of speaking situations, however little attention has been paid to how this translates in the workplace.

Stuttering is a speech disorder that affects approximately 1% of the population. With 14 million Australians over the age of 18, it could be estimated that over 140 000 people who stutter are currently employed in some capacity.

"Results of the study are likely to inform the development of strategies in treatment to support people who stutter in their occupational endeavours, and will therefore be of interest to adults who stutter, employers and speech pathologists," added Dr Bricker-Katz.

The confidential survey is open to participants over the age of 18.

Interview contact: Dr Geraldine Bricker-Katz, 0414 343 794, geraldine.katz@sydney.edu.au