Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Special Education

Committee Member

Bill Cupples

Committee Member

Lizbeth Stevens

Committee Member

David A. Daly


Few studies have been conducted examining the impact of stressful life events on the course of one’s stuttering. However, research reveals that stressful life events (i.e., divorce, death, or new move) increase the likelihood of the onset of stuttering (Guitar, 2006). This study investigated whether stressful life events in the life of a person who stutters (PWS) have caused and/or maintained stuttering over one’s lifetime. A qualitative research design was utilized to measure the intended outcomes. Methodology included a 30 to 60 minute phone interview and three questionnaires measuring locus of control, the effects of traumatic events and stuttering on one’s quality of life. Results identified three key findings: 1) an increase in negative emotions is due to an increase in stuttering related to a stressful situation, 2) a positive attitude remains despite experienced difficulty with speaking, 3) support groups show benefit for PWS. Directions for future study are suggested for fluency intervention.