The Effects of Self-Disclosure on Male and Female Perceptions of Individuals Who Stutter

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American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

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Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of self-disclosure on observers' perceptions of persons who stutter.

Method Participants (N = 173) were randomly assigned to view 2 of 4 possible videos (i.e., male self-disclosure, male no self-disclosure, female self-disclosure, and female no self-disclosure). After viewing both videos, participants completed a survey assessing their perceptions of the speakers.

Results Controlling for observer and speaker gender, listeners were more likely to select speakers who self-disclosed their stuttering as more friendly, outgoing, and confident compared with speakers who did not self-disclose. Observers were more likely to select speakers who did not self-disclose as unfriendly and shy compared with speakers who used a self-disclosure statement. Controlling for self-disclosure and observer gender, observers were less likely to choose the female speaker as friendlier, outgoing, and confident compared with the male speaker. Observers also were more likely to select the female speaker as unfriendly, shy, unintelligent, and insecure compared with the male speaker and were more likely to report that they were more distracted when viewing the videos.

Conclusion Results lend support to the effectiveness of self-disclosure as a technique that persons who stutter can use to positively influence the perceptions of listeners.


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