Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Social Distance and the Negative Stereotype of People who Stutter

Author(s) Thomas R Klassen
Volume 26
Number 2
Year 2002
Page(s) 90-99
Language English
Keywords stuttering
Abstract Stuttering has important social dimensions, especially in how people who stutter are perceived by their listeners. Previous studies have found a negative stereotype of people who stutter but have not examined whether social distance influences attitudes. The present study examined the attitudes of significant others towards stutterers in general and toward one individual who stutters. Responses from 108 relatives, friends and colleagues of six people who stutter showed they exhibited less negative stereotypical attitudes than those of the general public and show they hold differences in their perceptions about the normalcy of the speech of people with whom they interact. Findings suggest that ongoing personal and informal contact with an individual who stutters may reduce negative stereotyping, and that social distance influences the attitudes of others towards people who stutter.

Le bégaiement a d'importantes dimensions sociales, notamment en ce qui concerne la manière dont les personnes bègues sont perçus par leurs interlocuteurs. Des études ont déjà fait ressortir l'existence de préjugés envers les personnes bègues mais n'ont pas examiné l'incidence de la distance sociale sur les attitudes. La présente étude analyse les attitudes des proches envers un individu qui bégaie et envers les personnes bègues en général. Les réactions de 108 parents, amis et collègues de six personnes qui bégaient indiquent moins d'attitudes empreintes de préjugés que dans la population en général. Par ailleurs, les proches portent des jugements différents vis-à-vis de ce qui constitue un langage dit normal chez leurs interlocuteurs. Ces résultats semblent montrer que liens personnels et informels continus avec une personne bègue peuvent réduire les préjugés, et que la distance sociale a une incidence sur les attitudes face aux personnes qui bégaient.
Record ID 794
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