logoHomeAbout Uscontact usservices and fees

IPATHA Eventssummariesarchivepartners and contributorsposha referencesreferences otherprices and orderingsearch

Instrument Considerations

St. Louis, Lubker, et al. (2008) identified the following criteria for the POSHA-S that were informed by international opinion surveys and contemporary survey research principles (Babbie, 1990, 2004; Dillman, 1978, 2000; Quine, 1985; World Values Study Group, 1990-93). One primary requirement was that the survey could be translated to different languages and, thereby, be usable in a wide range of cultural settings. A second requirement was that subsequent translations must meet acceptable standards of reliability and validity. In early discussions, developers recognized the value of providing respondents with exemplars, such as hearing an audio or video clip of a person stuttering or of providing a standard definition of what is to be judged. This seemed reasonable since stigma is usually associated with the severity of a condition and since respondents may not know anything about the condition. On the other hand, the developers recognized that definitions are often ambiguous and that standardization of exemplars or definitions would be virtually impossible, especially if they were to be translated to other languages (St. Louis, Lubker, et al., 2008). A third requirement was that the methodology for measuring public attitudes be compatible with available personnel, partners, and financial resources in the US and abroad without major external funding.

Therefore, a written questionnaire format was chosen that neither defines nor provides exemplars of the conditions, but allows respondents to indicate that they do not know about the disorder. Despite some threats to the validity of results, e.g., respondents not realizing that stuttering might include speech with silent blocking, developers believed this to be the best choice considering reliability, expense, lack of availability of telephones or computers in individual homes around the world, adaptability, and the need for translation to other languages. A written survey could overcome four major challenges to elicit objective nation-specific data in ways that would be (a) interpretable from probability and non-probability samples (described later), (b) obtainable for reliability and validity measures, (c) familiar to other cultures and countries, and (d) readable and amenable to the translation cycle from American English to other languages and to back-translations in English, thereby permitting tracking and evaluation of semantic variability in languages.

It should be noted that one study used a written lay definition of stuttering as follows: “Stuttering is a speech problem in which a speaker typically repeats or prolongs (draws out) parts of words, or gets stuck or blocked on words. Sometimes stuttering consists of strategies that try to reduce or avoid repeating, prolonging, or blocking. Stuttering is often associated with psychological stress or unpleasant feelings. Finally, the person who stutters often experiences a loss of voluntary control in saying certain word.” (St. Louis, Filatova, et al., 2010). In that chapter, a graph is provided that compares POSHA-S pilot results from the USA, Turkey, Russia, and Bulgaria, each in the country’s official language, with those from more than 2000 respondents in 38 samples taken from 12 countries, five continents, and eight languages. The results with and without the written definitions were very similar.

In the development process, printed rather than online surveys were utilized in order to be sure that those who filled out questionnaires could be identified, carefully counted, and limited to one (or in some cases) two administrations. Ongoing investigations are comparing printed to online surveys on the final version of the questionnaire.