The Relationship of Parental Attitudes and Adjustments to the Development of Stuttering

227 111 26MB

English Pages 502

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

The Relationship of Parental Attitudes and Adjustments to the Development of Stuttering

Citation preview



A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, in the Department of Speech, in the Graduate College of the State University of Iowa June, 1950

ProQuest N um ber: 10986307

All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is d e p e n d e n t upon the quality of the copy subm itted. In the unlikely e v e n t that the a u thor did not send a c o m p le te m anuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if m aterial had to be rem oved, a n o te will ind ica te the deletion.

uest ProQuest 10986307 Published by ProQuest LLC(2018). C opyright of the Dissertation is held by the Author. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States C o d e M icroform Edition © ProQuest LLC. ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 4 8 1 0 6 - 1346


Th© writer expresses his warm appreciation to Dr* Wend©II Johnson for prompting and guiding the present study and for giving inspired incentive to consider nothing so well established as not to warrant another critical look* Professor Edward C* Mabl© has proved always interested and unfailingly helpful in most important ways during the writer*© pursuit of the graduate program off and on for ten years* Withoututhe cooperation of the cases and their parents there would have been no study* Dr# Spencer F# Brown9 Mrs* Dorothy Mayer, Miss Dorothy Drakesnith, Mr# Harold H* Hymans, and frr# H* K* Rembolt and his associates rendered willing assistance in locating and making available cases, arranging interviews, and generally making the study possible* The special exportenc© of Dr* Kenneth Soott Wood, Dr* Vincent Howlls, Dr# JTohn Whiting, and Mr* Apthur S# Hill and Dr* Don Lewis* expert advice on statistical treatment helped the writer immeasurably* Special thanks go to Miss Sarah Conlon for her efficient and expeditious work with half of the control group* Finally the writer thanks his wife for standing and working beside him and helping in many more ways than sh© realises*



Chapter I.

II •


Page Introduction...........................


A. The Problem and Its Background. . . . B. General Research Studies......... . C. Research Studies in Speech Pathology.

1 4 6



A. Preparation of the Standard InterviewOutline.................. B. Selection of Cases................. C. Interviewing Procedure............. D. Administration of T e s t s ............ E. Tabulating the D a t a ............... F. Statistical Treatment ..............

15 22 27 30 35 35



A. Basic Data, Experimental Group. . . . 40 B. Intra-Group Comparison, Experimental Gro up.............................. 273 C. Summary of Data concerning Onset and Developmentof Stuttering . . . . 304 IV.




A. Implications of Certain Findings. . . B. Comments on Further Investigations Using ThisM eth od ..........




............................. 336

Bibliography............................ 344 Appendix A. . . .

...................... 349

Appendix B.............................. 4&2 Appendix C.............................. 4 S8











Page Sections Comprising the Standard Interview Outline................................


Frequency .Distribution or the Ages or 50 Stuttering Children in the Experimental Group..................................


Number or Stuttering Children Falling within cthe Various Ranges or Intelligence as Measured by Two Individual Intelligence Tests.............................. • • •


Frequency Distribution or the Present Ages or the Mothers ana the Fathers of 50 Stuttering Children. ...........


Frequency Distribution or the Ages or the Mothers and the Fathers atthe Time or the Birth (or Adoption) or theirChildren.


Frequency Distribution or the Ages or the Mothers and the Fathers at the Time or their Marriage........................


Frequency Distribution or the Ages or the Siblings or 50 Stuttering Children. . . .


Frequency Distribution or Total Times of Separation of 50 Stuttering Children from their Fathers................ ..


Frequency Distribution of Total Times of Separation of 50 Stuttering Children from their Mothers.......... ..........


Frequency Distributions of the Present Ages of the Living Grandparents of 50 Stuttering Children......................


Frequency Distributions of the Ages at Death of the Deceased Grandparents of 50 Stuttering Children . . . . . .........



TABLE OF TABLES (continued) Page








Illnesses of 50 Stuttering Children, together with the Age at each Illness . . .


Operations Undergone by 50 Stuttering Children, together with the age at each Operation ..............................


Comparison by three Methods of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Estimates of Ages of Onset of Stuttering, together with Analysis of Time Intervals Elapsing between Estimated Dates or Onset and Dates of Interview. . .


Number and Percentage of Experimental Group Families Falling within each of the Five Socio-Economic Classes as Defined by Wanrer. . • » ............... ..........


A Tabulation of the Scores Made on the Iowa Scale of Attitude Toward Stuttering. .


Frequency Distribution of the Scores Made on TfAn Inventory of Factors S T D C R”. . .


Tabulation of the Scores Made on .Rogers’ "Test or Personality Adjustment" by 28 of the 50 Stuttering Children......... . .


Number or Separate Items in the Interview Outline, Answers to which werejAnaiyzed to Reveal Differences in Response between the Mothers and the Fathers of the Experimental Group.


Items Pertaining to Parental Activities Mothers’ and Fathers’ Responses to which were Significantly Different.............


Items Pertaining to Parental Self-Evaxuations Mothers’ and Fathers’ Responses to which were Significantly Different .... 2 8 1 -2 8 4 v

TABLE OF TABLE S (cont inued) Table








Items Pertaining to Evaluation or Mate Mothers’ and Fathers’ Responses to which were Significantly Different............


Items Pertaining to Home Relationships Mothers* and Fathers’ Responses to which were Significantly Different. . . . . . .


Items Pertaining to Evaluating of Child (Including Stuttering) Mothers’ and Fathers’ Responses to which were Significantly Different . . . .........


Items Pertaining to Evaluation of Others Mothers’ and Fathers* Responses to which were Significantly Different. ..........


Miscellaneous Items Involving Theoretical Frequencies of Less than Ten, Utilizing Yates Correction. . . . ...............


Analysis of Time Intervals Elapsing between Ages of First Words and First Sentences and Estimates by Mothers and Fathers of Ages of Onset of Stuttering. •



Chapter I xmRomoiaon A®

The Problem and Its Background The ultimate purpose of this study and a

companion study (3 6 ) is to explore and assess the pre­ sumably relevant attitudes and adjustments of th© parents of stuttering children in an a ttempt to determine whether they are qualitatively or quantitatively different from those of the parents of matched non^s tattering children# This dissertation presents only a part of the total data and analysis*

It consists of a presentation of th© basic

data secured from th© parents of th© stuttering children together with (X) a comparison of the responses of the mothers with those of the fathers within this group and (2 ) a summary and analysis of the data relative to the onset and development of stuttering in their children*

Th© scop©

of the complete study, other phases of which are now In progress, Is explained in Chapter II, section F# Th© total study of which this constitutes a r grew out of an increasing conviction that to understand a stuttering child one must understand something about those persons close to him who have helped him to become the child he now is*

Increasingly with th© years the area of

human behavior scrutinized by the speech pathologist in

2 search for the faetors functionally related to a speech *

defect has widened*

In 1936 Travis directed attention away

from the speech defect per se and insisted that A speech disorder is a disorder of the person as well as a disorder in the movements of th© speech organs* It is not enough to know what sort of a speech defect a person has* In addition* one should know what kind of person has a speech defect. The speech defect has no particular meaning apart from the person who presents the speech defect* ?«?© are not Interested in speech defects* but in speech defectives (33* P* 57) *x Scientific thinking and research havo led in** creasing numbers of speech p thologists to ask such questions as theses

wIs it conceivable that a given individual1s

speech disorder may be a result of th© attitudes or behavior of some other person or persons?

Does th© speech

defect have much meaning apart from other persons intimately associated with the person who presents th© speech defect? In addition to being Interested In speech defectives, should we not become interested In persons closely associated with them »

for example* their parents?,f

Johnson (3) has emphasised this extension of Travis* views in describing what sorts of observations on© needs to make in order to understand and help any individual:

one must speak in terms of his organism, his

1* Humbers in parentheses refer to references listed in the bibliography*

3 overt end physiological behavior, his evaluative reactions, and his semantic environment (including the culture in which he grow®} #

semantic environment is meant the

individual*® environment of attitudes, belief®, assumptions, value®, ideals, standards, customs, knowledge, interests, conventions, Institution®, etc.

Tor example, a child’s

parents and teachers play Important roles in deterxaining the nature of his semantic environment” (p 4 1 2 ), Workers in the areas of clinical psychology, child psychology, social work, psychiatry, medicine, and education have paid increasingly close attention to the early environmental influences impressed upon a child. The socialization process has coxae to loom up .Importantly, and the family is readily recognized as one of the funda** mental agencies of socialization,

(32, P* 103),


Bogers positively asserts, "In any mention of the environ** mental influences which shape and mold the individual’s behavior, the family come® first” (7» P* 3),

Allen, a

child psychiatrist, speaks of th® above-mentioned shift in attentions Dynamic psychiatry has gone through an Interesting cycle beginning with an interest in unraveling the genetic history of adult reactions, which In turn led to a greater focusing on the child, with the Idea of studying and preventing those adult problems In their incipient stages, nnd now we find ourselves going back to a more careful consideration of those adult reactions which are so important in shaping the person­ alities of children (12, p* 2),

4 B#

general Research studies -to examination of th© research literature

reveals m a y studies oriented toward assessment of the parental environment of children with various problems* Shoben (3 2 * pp* 105 *1 1 4 )* in the course of developing the tfcilversity of Southern California Parent Attitude Survey, examined and reported in M s paper eight "clinical" and ten "experimental" investigations which relate such things as clinical success in psychotherapy with children, children's characteristic

behavioral trends * children's

attitudes* and personality patterns in childhood and adulthood to the psycho logical climate provided for til© child in his home#

Other studies not reviewed by Shohen

might be mentioned*

Newell (28) has related children's

personality disorders to lack of'love in th© home* and Hall (18) found a striking differential incidence of children's personality difficulties in discordant as opposed to peaceful homes#

Mlssildin® (2 6 ) related reading diffi*

culties In normally intelligent children to maternal hostility* tensions* and eoerctveness toward their children# lots* (2 5 ) studies 4 8 "psychopathic" children and 64 "p^blem" children (characterized by instability of behavior) and found unusually high incidence of severe parental maladjustment#

5 Purlin, &latzer, and Hirseh (1 5 ) found that clinical treatment of children Was facilitated by simul­ taneous treatment of their mothers*

A number of studies

done at Smith College (11) found a close relation between the modif ication of parental attitudes and the improvement of the behavior of children being treated in child guidance centers#

lodgen (2 4 ) reports successful treatment

of problem children only where parental attitude was altered or where a mother-subatltut© was provided* Rammers and Woltman (2 9 ) found a high degree of commonality of attitude between parents and their children, as did Raw comb (27)*

lewis (2 3 ), studying some 5 0 ,0 0 0

children In 36 states, found a positive influence of parental attitudes on their children*® personality inventory scores and concluded, "Emotional adjustment must center on parental attitudes" (p. 2 0 1 )*

Xmmergluck (3 7 ),

using the Rorschach test in hie study of twenty adolescents diagnosed as "primary behavior disorders" and their parents, found that both children and parents deviated signifi­ cantly from the norms in several respects.

He stated,

"A strikingly close similarity between the personality characteristics of the parents and their children is observed*"



Be search Studies in Speech Pathology An ©xaxaina tion of the research literature In

the area of speech pathology indicates the increased interest in home relationships of sp©ech-handicapped children*

Ruth Beekey (Xrwin) {14) investigated certain

environmental factors possibly related to the acquisition of speech by a group of 50 speech-retarded children and a matched group of $0 children with normal speech*


found that "children with language retardation usually belonged to the lower socio^eoonoiaic groups ,” whereas the parents of the children in th© normal group "repre­ sented most frequently the professional and managerial occupations" {p* 235)*

Children with delayed speech had

parents with an educational background inferior to that of parents of children v/lth normal speech development*


th© possibly unfavorable environmental influences noted, th© Incidence of isolation of th© child and anticipation of th© child1© wants by th© parents differed significantly in th© two groups, greater incidence being found in th© experimental group* Wood* s study of the parents of articulatory defect!v© children (34) pioneered in this specific area* Using a battery of tests {for the parents: the California Test of Personality, the Bernreuter Personality Inventory,

and Intelligence tests % for the childrens

the California

Test of Personality, the California Mental Maturity Test, hearing tests, and -Stoddard* s Biagnostic Pictures) and a short ease history interview, he assessed the personalities and abilities of 50 children with articulatory defects and their parents*

Comparing the parents* scores on th©

personality tests with the test norms, he found th© parents significantly deviant with regard to several traits the mothers were found to be significantly more neurotic, submissive, and aelf-consclou® and significantly lower in self-adjustment, social adjustment, and total adjustment; fathers were significantly lower in self-adjustment. Social standard© of mother® were found to be very high in comparison with other adjustment scores*

Mo correlation

was found between the personality test scores of th© children and those of their parents*

As a group the speech

defective children seemed better adjusted than did either the mothers Or fathers* Case history data revealed 13 salient factors in home environment which in themselves would militate against a satisfactory motional life for the child, or would predispose the parent to neglect and mishandle the child* The most frequent factors ware lack of recreational outlet for th© parents, Ignorance of child behavior problems, overly ©ever© child discipline methods and defective home membership* (p* 2 ?2 )

8 Ho control group was interviewed for determination of the statistical significance of these factors* Clinical treatment of some of the mothers simultaneously with the children resulted in more rapid speech improvement in their children than in the children whose mothers received no help in solving their own adjustment problems*

(This finding confirms a similar

finding by Wright (35)t who studied the attitudes of the mothers of 26 stuttering children, 22 children with "articulation retardation," and two child.ran with "delayed speech*") Wood concludes, "Functional articulatory defects of children are definitely and significantly associated with maladjustment and undesirable traits on the part of the parents * * * * Such factors are usually maternally centered" (p* 2 7 2 )* Hood, Shank, and Williamson (20), studying the parental environment of 41 cerebral palsied children, Interviewed their parents and administered five tests (the California Test of Personality, th© Allport Ascen&anceSubmssion Heaction Study, the Mental Health Analysis, the C-B Opinionaire, and an adaptation, of th© Thematic Apperception Test}*

Among other findings they report a

fairly strong relationship between the mothers* conserva­ tism and ©motional stability and the speech adequacy

9 of their children; no relation between traits of dominance and submission la the parents anti the children* s speech adequacy; a fairly strong relationship between speech adequacy and the degree of optimism of the parents regarding their children1© future development*

The fathers showed

little personality deviation from standardized norms* tending to rank high in mental health*

Th© mothers tended

to rank low in fe©lings, of personal security* self-reliance, and personal freedom and tended to rank high in nervous symptoms and sense of personal worth* Several of th© studies of the parental environment of stutterers were prompted by th© findings of Johnson et al (2 1 ) In their study of the onset and development of stuttering*

That Investigation revealed that in fully

three-fourths of the 46 cases of stuttering children studied extensively, th© original diagnoses of stuttering were mad© by the parents of th© children*

(The remaining

one-fourth of the diagnoses were made by teachers or relatives of the children*}

Further, what these laymen

had diagnosed as stuttering was largely indistinguishable from th© non-fluenol ©s character! sito of the normal speech of young children*

Following diagnosis, practically all

of th© children developed overt speech behavior that was in some degree unusual and of clinical importance* JctE&son considers th® implications of these

10 findings as follows: We are all familiar with th© principle that the way in which one classifies a person largely determines [email protected]*s general reactions to that person* That principle: seems to have operated in these eases in which th© parents classified their children as stutterers and then proceeded to react to them largely in terms of th© implications of the label* « * * * Th® question as to why such phenomena are diagnosed as stuttering by some parents and not by other© deserves further intensive investi­ gation* ^here can be little question of the fact that highly similar yarieltes of speech In children are thus differently evaluated by different parents, and there can b© little question that the way in which they are evaluated plays a determining role in the tech development of the child*

Earlier Hotter (30) reported that "statistically significantly more only children and fewer* middle children were found among stutterer© than among a presumably non­ stuttering population*

The mean number of years between

the stutterers and their nearest siblings was statistically significantly larger than the mean number of years between th© stutterers* non-stuttering siblings*"

*vs a

result of hi® findings, the author felt that "the role of training, in the etiology of stuttering* is an important on©"