Stuttering, attractiveness and romantic relationships: the perception of adolescents and young adults.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible negative impact of stuttering on romantic opportunities for adolescents and young adults who stutter. The first part of the study investigated if being a person who stutters affects the attractiveness of adolescents and young adults to their peers. To this end, 343 males and 393 females were shown age-matched pictures with an accompanying verbal description of a person opposite his or her own sex which they scored for attractiveness. In half of the participants the verbal description mentioned that the individual depicted was as person who stutters, in the other participants no such reference was included. In a second part, 354 adolescents and young adults completed a questionnaire investigating their attitude towards engaging in a romantic relationship with a peer who stutters. In particular it was asked if stuttering would hold them from (a) starting a conversation, (b) having a date or (c) possibly "going steady" with a person. Results showed that to some extent adolescents and young adults consider peers who stutter less attractive than non-stuttering peers and that they are less likely to engage in a romantic relationship with them. Clinicians need to be aware of the obstacles that adolescent and young adult clients may have to face in their social development. EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES: The reader of this article will be able to (a) discuss the extent to which stuttering in adolescents and young adults affects attractiveness for peers and (b) discuss the extent to which stuttering in adolescents and young adults holds peers back from engaging in a romantic relationship.