Investigation of the Relation Between Parents' Cognitive Distortions and Attitudes and Perceived Severity of their Children's Stuttering

Gökçen Elif Hocaoğlu Mehmet Emrah Cangi

Purpose: In preschool stuttering, environmental actors, especially parents, play a significant role in assessment and management processes, such as prognosis and management. However, parents may perceive their children's stuttering as much more severe. Along with many other factors, parental attitudes and cognitive distortions may substantially contribute to these misperceptions. For this reason, this study aimed to examine the relation between the cognitive distortions and attitudes of parents of children who stutter and their perception of the severity of stuttering. Method: The participants of the study consisted of 41 children aged 2-7 years with stuttering and their mothers or fathers and 4 speech-language therapists (SLT). The Parent Information Form, Parental Attitude Scale (PAS), Cognitive Distortions Scale (CDS), and Stuttering Severity Scale (SSS) were used as data collection tools. Five-minute spontaneous speech samples of children who stutter were observed by parents and four experienced SLTs (Cronbach's α > 0.93) and scored on the SSS. The data were analyzed using IBM® SPSS® Statistics 26.0. An independent sample t-test was used to compare scale scores with two-group variables, such as the ages of parents and children. Pearson correlation analysis was conducted to examine the relation between the scale scores. Multiple regression analysis was performed to determine the effects of parental attitudes and cognitive distortion levels on stuttering severity scores. Results: The parents perceived the severity of their children's stuttering as significantly higher than the SLTs did. A positive, moderately significant relation was found between parental attitudes (such as an authoritarian manner) and cognitive distortions (such as mental filtering, overgeneralizing, personalizing, and ignoring the positive) and parental perception of stuttering severity. A positive, moderately significant relation was also observed between mental filtering and overgeneralizing and the difference of the SLTs' scores from the parents' scores. The established multiple regression analysis model was found to be statistically significant, but the effects of the independent variables on the children's stuttering severity scores were insignificant. Conclusion: These findings emphasize the possibility that the perception of the severity of the child's stuttering is much higher from the parent's perspective compared to the SLTs’ evaluation. It has become clear how essential it is to support parents in arriving at rational and perceptual severity assessments. The importance of addressing the child within the family system in the assessment and management processes has once again emerged. Particularly significant attitudinal tendencies and cognitive distortions have presented many clinical implications in the context of research on childhood stuttering.


childhood stuttering, parents, cognitive distortions, parenting attitudes, perceived stuttering severity


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