The reliability of a severity rating scale to measure stuttering in an unfamiliar language

Laura Hoffman, Linda Wilson, Anna Copley, Sally Hewat, Valerie Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


With increasing multiculturalism, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are likely to work with stuttering clients from linguistic backgrounds that differ from their own. No research to date has estimated SLPs' reliability when measuring severity of stuttering in an unfamiliar language. Therefore, this study was undertaken to estimate the reliability of SLPs' use of a 9-point severity rating (SR) scale, to measure severity of stuttering in a language that was different from their own. Twenty-six Australian SLPs rated 20 speech samples (10 Australian English [AE] and 10 Mandarin) of adults who stutter using a 9-point SR scale on two separate occasions. Judges showed poor agreement when using the scale to measure stuttering in Mandarin samples. Results also indicated that 50% of individual judges were unable to reliably measure the severity of stuttering in AE. The results highlight the need for (a) SLPs to develop intra- and inter-judge agreement when using the 9-point SR scale to measure severity of stuttering in their native language (in this case AE) and in unfamiliar languages; and (b) research into the development and evaluation of practice and/or training packages to assist SLPs to do so.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-326
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


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