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"Stuttering Stereotype"

Importantly, almost all mainstream sources describe stuttering as a neurophysiological disorder with a strong genetic component (Bloodstein & Ratner, 2008; Guitar, 2006; Manning, 2010; Yairi & Seery, 2011). Research on differences between stuttering speakers and nonstuttering controls have consistently shown that stutterers are not entirely normal in a wide range of functional abilities and genetic measures (e.g., Drayna, Kilshaw, & Kelly, 1999; Kang, Riazuddin, Mundorff, Krasnewich, Friedman, Mullikin, & Drayna, 2010; De Nil, Kroll, Lafaille, & Houle, 2003). Although social environments do not cause stuttering, they play an important role in the way stuttering is experienced, how it develops, and its effect on persons’ lives (e.g., Manning, 2010; Smith & Kelly, 1997; Yaruss & Quesal, 2004).

Stigma in stuttering has been widely considered within the context of a “stuttering stereotype” (Blood, 1999; Boyle, Blood, & Blood, 2009; Cooper & Cooper, 1985; Ham, 1990; Reingold & Krishnan, 2002). It refers to the belief that stuttering reflects a psychological problem and that people who stutter are nervous, shy, anxious, reserved, introverted, and suffer from a psychologically-based problem. Research has shown that the stereotype has been shown to change or vary according to specific variables. For example, when stuttering persons are acquainted personally with respondents, many of these stereotypical beliefs diminish (Klassen, 2002). In addition, when the cause of stuttering is indicated to be genetic—rather than the widely assumed psychological etiology—negative stereotypes are reduced (Boyle, Blood, & Blood, 2009).