Find Help

Peer attitudes toward children who stutter

Preliminary research has indicated that TAB is effective in changing attitudes toward children who stutter. Marilyn Langevin and Paul Hagler have developed a tool – the Peer Attitudes Toward Children Who Stutter (PATCS) scale – that can be used to evaluate such programs by measuring attitudes toward children who stutter. The tool features a 5-point Likert response scale (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree) to measure attitudes.

The PATCS scale has three subscales, which seek to measure:

  • Social pressure (SP), which reflects concern with what others think about children who stutter, e.g. “I’d be ashamed to be seen with a kid who stutters.”
  • Positive social distance (PSD), which reflects comfort with being with a child who stutters, e.g. “I would let a kid who stutters hang out with us.”
  • Verbal interaction (VI), a construct characterized by frustration, e.g. “I would feel uptight talking with a kid who stutters.”

Langevin and colleagues originally developed a series of scale items to represent aspects of a person’s attitude, and to assess a range of peer interactions. Field testing reduced the original 116 items to 40. Further study reduced them to 36. Before children fill out the scales, they watch a video of a boy, and of a girl, who stutters. Langevin has tested construct validity of the scale, which refers to how well it does what it claims to do. Langevin had expected, based on research about other disabilities, that children filling out to the PATCS scale would see kids who stutter in a more positive light if (a) they’d had contact with kids who stutter, (b) were in higher grades, or (c) were female. Research with this scale, and other research, has suggested, however, that grade level and gender are largely irrelevant. What is relevant is contact. If nonstuttering kids have contact with an individual who stutters, they will view children who stutter more positively than ones who’ve never had such contact.

The current study

The study’s purpose was to further investigate the scale’s validity and reliability, and the proportion of students with negative attitudes about kids who stutter. The study included 97 children in Grades 4 to 6 from three urban schools in Western Canada. A 40-item scale was used.

Before completing the scale, students viewed a video of a 9-year-old boy with moderate stuttering, and an 8-year-old girl with severe stuttering. They were also asked to indicate if they knew someone who stuttered, and if so, to record the stutterer’s first name and/or to indicate who the person was (e.g. a relative, friend, neighbour, or other). For purposes of test-retest reliability, a second PATCS was administered a week later to 29 participants.

Become a Member!

Support the Canadian Stuttering Association by becoming a member. Get updates and receive our upcoming monthly newsletter.

Fill out the Membership Form today!