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POSHA-S: Overview

The Public Opinion Survey of Human Attributes—Stuttering (POSHA-S) is an empirically-based survey instrument designed to measure public attitudes toward stuttering within the context of a variety of human attributes or conditions. The instrument has undergone extensive research on methodological issues to assure that it is valid (i.e., measures what it is intended to measure) (Flynn & St. Louis, 2009; St. Louis & George, 2008; St. Louis, Reichel, Yaruss, & Lubker, 2009), is reliable (i.e., measures the same constructs in repeated surveys) (St. Louis, Lubker, Yaruss, & Aliveto, 2009), is internally consistent (Al-Khaledi et al., 2009), is translatable to other languages (St. Louis, Andrade, Georgieva, & Troudt, 2005; St. Louis & Roberts, 2010), distinguishes between convenience and probability samples (Ozdemir, St. Louis, & Topbas, in press), is readable and unaffected by the order of mention of stuttering (St. Louis, Lubker, et al., 2008), and produces meaningful results with modest sample sizes (St. Louis, 2009).

The POSHA-S consists of a written questionnaire asking about beliefs and reactions related to stuttering, notably what respondents think about the cause of stuttering, what they believe they would feel or do if confronted with a person who stutters, who they believe should help those who stutter, how concerned they would be if various people stuttered, and what they believe regarding what stutterers can or should do in their lives. It also compares respondents’ impressions and desire to stutter in relation to other “anchor” attributes ranging from positive (intelligent), to neutral (left-handed), and to negative (mental illness and obesity). An item asks respondents to identify and indicate their relation to individuals with those attributes. Additionally, it asks for demographic information, such as respondents’ age, sex, educational achievement, race, religion, income, past or current vocation, living arrangement, languages known, physical and mental health, speaking ability, and ability to learn. The POSHA-S should be filled out by respondents who represent various populations so that the results can be generalized to those populations. As such, it is not appropriate to measure the attitudes of individuals. (However, a related instrument, the “Appraisal of the Stuttering Environment” [ASE] is a clinical measure for speech-language pathologists or other trained professionals that was derived from experimental versions of the POSHA-S. The ASE is appropriate for obtaining attitudes of families, friends, schoolmates, or colleagues of individual children or adults who stutter.)