Beliefs and behavioural intentions towards pharmacotherapy for stuttering: a survey of adults who stutter

Allan McGroarty, Rebecca McCartan

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Although considerable efforts have been made to investigate the effectiveness of pharmacological treatments for stuttering, little is known about how the stuttering community perceives these treatments. This study aimed to assess and quantify beliefs regarding pharmacotherapy for adults who stutter and to establish whether behavioural intentions to undertake treatment were related to these beliefs.

An adapted version of the Beliefs about Medicine Questionnaire was completed by adults who stutter. Participants also reported perceptions of their stuttering including its overall impact, ratings of previous speech therapy, and behavioural intentions to initiate pharmacotherapy and speech therapy in future.

Necessity and concern beliefs were distributed widely across the sample and in a pattern indicating a relatively balanced perception of the benefits and costs of medication prescribed specifically for stuttering. Of the study’s measures, the necessity-concerns differential most strongly predicted the behavioural intention to initiate pharmacotherapy. The overall impact of stuttering predicted intentions to seek both pharmacotherapy and speech therapy. Participants reported the likelihood of pursuing pharmacotherapy and speech therapy in equal measure.

The theoretical model of medication representations appears to be a useful framework for understanding the beliefs of adults who stutter towards the medical treatment of their disorder. The findings of this study may be of interest to clinicians and researchers working in the field of stuttering treatment and to people who stutter considering pharmacotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
Early online date13 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018


  • stuttering
  • stammering
  • pharmacotherapy
  • medication
  • speech therapy
  • treatment


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