Associations between stuttering, comorbid conditions and executive function in children: a population-based study

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Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between executive function (EF), stuttering, and comorbidity by examining children who stutter (CWS) and children who do not stutter (CWNS) with and without comorbid conditions. Data from the National Health Interview Survey were used to examine behavioral manifestations of EF, such as inattention and self-regulation, in CWS and CWNS. Methods: The sample included 2258 CWS (girls = 638, boys = 1620), and 117,725 CWNS (girls = 57,512; boys = 60,213). EF, and the presence of stuttering and comorbid conditions were based on parent report. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the distribution of stuttering and comorbidity across group and sex. Regression analyses were to determine the effects of stuttering and comorbidity on EF, and the relationship between EF and socioemotional competence. Results: Results point to weaker EF in CWS compared to CWNS. Also, having comorbid conditions was also associated with weaker EF. CWS with comorbidity showed the weakest EF compared to CWNS with and without comorbidity, and CWS without comorbidity. Children with stronger EF showed higher socioemotional competence. A majority (60.32%) of CWS had at least one other comorbid condition in addition to stuttering. Boys who stutter were more likely to have comorbid conditions compared to girls who stutter. Conclusion: Present findings suggest that comorbidity is a common feature in CWS. Stuttering and comorbid conditions negatively impact EF.

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Choo, A. L., Smith, S. A., & Li, H. (2020). Associations between stuttering, comorbid conditions and executive function in children: a population-based study. BMC Psychology, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-020-00481-7

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