Will normalising the bipolar adjective scale measurement of perceptions of people who stutter result in a view of the stuttering stereotype that is more positive?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The present study investigated the extent to which perceptions of a stutterer deviated from an 'ideal'. This was done by normalising the bipolar adjective scale in comparing perceptions of a typical stutterer against a role model in terms of personality. In addition to this, the current study explored how participants use rating scales and the meanings they assign to the neutral point on a scale. The last aim of the study was to investigate how knowing or not knowing a stutterer may have influenced the participants’ responses. To fulfil these aims 67 British participants undertook an online questionnaire via the Facebook social media website. The current study found that stutterers deviated from the 'ideal' in terms of being more: sensitive, introverted, avoiding, withdrawn, insecure, afraid, shy, self-conscious, guarded, nervous, tense and anxious. However, from investigating the distribution of ratings along the scales and analysing qualitative responses of participants it cannot be stated definitively that perceptions of stutterers were wholly negative. It was found there were complex reasons behind how participants used the rating scales and that participants felt uncertain of the accuracy of their ratings when they did not know a stutterer. It was found that participants assigned multiple reasons for the neutral rating which supported the argument that rating scale data should be treated as ordinal. These findings had implications on the content and structure of rating scales and how previous (and future) research using rating scales should be interpreted. The final conclusion of this study was that negativity associated with perceptions of stutterers is a complex issue with many influencing factors, namely that desirability was found to be a more subtle process than the binary categories of 'positive' and 'negative'.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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