Stuttering, alcohol consumption and smoking

Milly Heelan, Jan McAllister (Lead Author), Jane Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Purpose: Limited research has been published regarding the association between stuttering and substance use. An earlier study provided no evidence for such an association, but the authors called for further research to be conducted using a community sample. The present study used data from a community sample to investigate whether an association between stuttering and alcohol consumption or regular smoking exists in late adolescence and adulthood.

Methods: Regression analyses were carried out on data from a birth cohort study, the National Child Development Study (NCDS), whose initial cohort included 18,558 participants who have since been followed up until age 55. In the analyses, the main predictor variable was parent-reported stuttering at age 16. Parental socio-economic group, cohort member’s sex and childhood behavioural problems were also included. The outcome variables related to alcohol consumption and smoking habits at ages 16, 23, 33, 41, 46, 50 and 55.

Results: No significant association was found between stuttering and alcohol consumption or stuttering and smoking at any of the ages. It was speculated that the absence of significant associations might be due to avoidance of social situations on the part of many of the participants who stutter, or adoption of alternative coping strategies.

Conclusion: Because of the association between anxiety and substance use, individuals who stutter and are anxious might be found to drink or smoke excessively, but as a group, people who stutter are not more likely than those who do not to have high levels of consumption of alcohol or nicotine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
Early online date6 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Stuttering
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Birth cohort

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