Self-reported stuttering severity is accurate: Informing methods for large-scale data collection in stuttering

Horton, S., Jackson, V., Boyce, J., Franken, M.-C., Siemers, S., St John, M., Hearps, S., Van Reyk, O., Braden, R., Parker, R., Vogel, A. P., Eising, E., Amor, D. J., Irvine, J., Fisher, S. E., Martin, N. G., Reilly, S., Bahlo, M., Scheffer, I., & Morgan, A. (2023). Self-reported stuttering severity is accurate: Informing methods for large-scale data collection in stuttering. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. doi:10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00081.
To our knowledge, there are no data examining the agreement between self-reported and clinician-rated stuttering severity. In the era of big data, self-reported ratings have great potential utility for large-scale data collection, where cost and time preclude in-depth assessment by a clinician. Equally, there is increasing emphasis on the need to recognize an individual's experience of their own condition. Here, we examined the agreement between self-reported stuttering severity compared to clinician ratings during a speech assessment. As a secondary objective, we determined whether self-reported stuttering severity correlated with an individual's subjective impact of stuttering.

Speech-language pathologists conducted face-to-face speech assessments with 195 participants (137 males) aged 5–84 years, recruited from a cohort of people with self-reported stuttering. Stuttering severity was rated on a 10-point scale by the participant and by two speech-language pathologists. Participants also completed the Overall Assessment of the Subjective Experience of Stuttering (OASES). Clinician and participant ratings were compared. The association between stuttering severity and the OASES scores was examined.

There was a strong positive correlation between speech-language pathologist and participant-reported ratings of stuttering severity. Participant-reported stuttering severity correlated weakly with the four OASES domains and with the OASES overall impact score.

Participants were able to accurately rate their stuttering severity during a speech assessment using a simple one-item question. This finding indicates that self-report stuttering severity is a suitable method for large-scale data collection. Findings also support the collection of self-report subjective experience data using questionnaires, such as the OASES, which add vital information about the participants' experience of stuttering that is not captured by overt speech severity ratings alone.
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