Type JournalArticle
Date 2001-03
Volume 26
Number 1
Tags person-first language
Journal Journal of Fluency Disorders
Pages 55--66

Effects of the label “stutterer” on student perceptions


This study explored the issue of potential discrimination based on terminology regarding stuttering. Two survey forms were written to include a paragraph description of a hypothetical person who stutters. The paragraph description was followed by a list of nine trait pairs with a 7-point Likert rating scale. These two forms differed only in the terminology that was used to inform the reader that the person stuttered. One form used the word “stutterer,” the other used “noun + who stutters” and “noun + has had a stuttering problem.” These forms were alternated in a stack and then distributed to undergraduate college students in general education classes. Analysis of the 544 completed forms revealed that subjects rated the two paragraphs similarly, with no significant difference between the forms of terminology used. Females rated the character traits on both forms more favorably than did the male raters. Educational Objectives: The reader will learn and be able to discuss (1) the negative character traits attributed to persons who stutters, (2) the rationale of person-first terminology policies, and (3) the empirical support for such policies.

Name Role
Dale E. Williams Author
Kimberley H. Jensen Author
Susan Dietrich Author