Pre-schoolers who stutter score lower in verbal skills than their non-stuttering peers

Eugen Zaretsky, Benjamin P. Lange, Harald A. Euler, Fiona Robinson, Katrin Neumann


Purpose: The study aimed at the examination of a link between stuttering and verbal skills (speech comprehension, articulation, grammar, vocabulary, and phonological short-term memory) in three- to five-year-old children.

Method: Two samples with a total of 7,217 unselected German children were tested with the validated speech and language test Marburger Sprachscreening – revised version (MSSrev).  Linguistic domains were compared for pre-school children who stuttered (CWS; n=110) and those who did not (CWNS; n=7,107) by means of Mann-Whitney U tests, general linear models, Spearman correlations, and cross-tables.  

Results: In both samples, CWS scored lower in grammar, articulation, and overall performance on the MSSrev. Statistically significant associations between stuttering and (a) sex of the child, and (b) language disorders in the family were identified.

Conclusions: Taking into account the effect sizes, there appears to be a weak, but statistically significant link between stuttering and verbal skills.  

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