Self-Disclosure, Stuttering, Speaking Situations, Physiological Responses, Affect, Self-Assessment Manikin, Skin Conductance, Heart Rate
Purposes: (1) To explore self-disclosure, physiological and affective responses in easy and difficult speaking situations, (2) to investigate physiological and affective responses in self-disclosure and no self-disclosure speaking contexts, (3) to examine types of self-disclosure statements used along with physiological responses, (4) and to gain an understanding of reasons why and how adults who stutter choose to self-disclose or not self-disclose about their stuttering.
Method: Four adults who stutter were randomly assigned to self-disclosure and non self-disclosure speaking contexts. Heart rate, skin conductance, and affective responses were measured during the following focus areas: 1) start baseline, 2) anticipation of the easy speaking situation, 3) the easy speaking situation, 4) anticipation of the difficult speaking situation, 5) the difficult speaking situation, and 6) end baseline. An informational interview to understand the participants’ use of or lack of self-disclosure in their daily lives was then conducted.
Results: Skin conductance responses were comparable between self-disclosure and non self-disclosure groups. When it came to the participants’ heart rate (BPM), all but one focus area had a statistically significant difference between the BPM recorded for the self-disclosure group (M=35.88, SD=3.77) compared to the non self-disclosure group (M=49.54, SD=1.54) for the End Baseline; p =0.04 (between-group). Affectively, participants who did not self-disclose reported the same affective responses pre- and post-experiment, while participants who did self-disclose reported different affective responses pre- and post-experiment. Participants also expressed that self-disclosing was dependent on the familiarity of the listener or situation. Also, most participants stated feeling “at ease” or a “pressure” was lifted off when they self-disclosed. Most participants also shared that they self-disclosed as a part of their first interaction with someone or when meeting someone for the first time. Furthermore, when asked about their reactions to engaging in the most difficult and easiest speaking situations most participants were surprised by their feelings.
Conclusion: There was not a statistically significant difference in the between-group heart rate and skin conductance results, but there was during the end of the baseline of the BPM measurements. It was also suggested that the anticipation of easy or difficult speaking situations (SC and HR) may be influenced based on familiarity or comfortableness of situation. Participants who did not self-disclose reported the same affective responses pre- and post-experiment, while participants who did self-disclose reported different affective responses pre- and post-experiment. Additionally, the informational interview gave insight into how the participants’ perceived fear of a speaking situation was different than anticipated. The interview provided information about the situations that participants self-disclose most often and how they self-disclose. This study also revealed that self-disclosure is still a valuable tool that can ease conversation for the speaker. These results may help clinicians to inform their therapy by considering multiple variables that contribute to stuttering and how they change depending on the client’s experiences.
Rodriguez, Sulema and McGill, Megann
"Self-Disclosure and Physiological Responses among Adults who Stutter,"
PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal:
1, Article 2.