A longitudinal study of utterance length in morphemes as a predictor of treatment outcome in early childhood stuttering

Soo Bok Lee, Hyun Sub Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Previous studies investigating the relationship between stuttering and language ability have been inconsistent, thus, this study investigated the treatment outcome of utterance length in children (age 2 to 5) within one year of the onset of stuttering. Furthermore, the study longitudinally examined utterance length's influence on recovery from early childhood stuttering. Methods: For 18 months direct therapy was given to eighteen children with indirect therapy for their parents to change their attitudes. Speech samples were collected five times (assessment at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months) and were analyzed to identify contributing factors of persistence and recovery in the developmental pathway of stuttering. Results: The results were as follows. First, no significant group differences were found in 3 types of utterance length (total, fluent, and stuttered utterance length). Second, when fluent utterance length was compared to nonstuttering children (Kim, 2002), both groups displayed similar patterns of normal language development. Third, a relationship between frequency of abnormal disfluency and stuttered utterance length was observed, that is, higher frequency of abnormal disfluency influenced stuttered utterance length in both groups. Conclusion: The results suggest that length of fluent and stuttered utterances should be considered as an important element in the initial treatment of stuttering and identifying longitudinal changes in utterance length, being essential for improved treatment of early childhood stuttering. We also suggest that clinicians be aware of language and disfluency changes at 12 and 18 months after treatment in order to enhance our understanding of stuttering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-201
Number of pages13
JournalCommunication Sciences and Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is based on a part of the first author''s doctoral''s thesis from Ewha Womans University (2014).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.


  • Early childhood stuttering
  • Longitudinal study
  • Persistent group
  • Recovered group
  • Utterance length


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