Master of Science (M.S.)
Degree Granting Department
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Nathan Maxfield, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Supraja Anand, Ph.D.
Michelle S. Bourgeois, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Resilience Framework, Self-Perception, Factors, Stuttering
This study was conducted to investigate predictors of physical and mental health quality of life in aging adults who stutter (AWS). Our goal was to identify factors contributing to successful aging in this talker group. The aging population is expected to increase exponentially over the next twenty years. Factors influencing self-perceived health-related quality of life have yet to be investigated in aging AWS.
An online survey was completed by a total of 40 AWS, age 50 years and older, recruited from the Greater Tampa Bay region and nationally. The survey comprised multiple measures that probed for information regarding self-perceived health related quality of life, general resilience, health-promoting behaviors, socioeconomic resources, perceptions of aging, social risk associated with stuttering, identity management, neuroticism, and perceived difficulty communicating in daily situations.
Mean physical health quality of life (PH-QoL) was higher for aging AWS versus same-age adults in the general U.S. population. In contrast, mean mental health quality of life (MH-QoL) was only slightly lower for aging AWS relative to same-age adults from the general U.S. population. Further investigation is needed to determine whether such differences are observed in a larger, more representative sample of aging AWS. Bivariate correlation analysis revealed that awareness of age-related loss was negatively associated with PH-QoL at a statistically significant level. In contrast, five variables were associated with MH-QoL. Age, number of physical activities weekly, and resilience were positively associated with MH-QoL at a statistically significant level, while neuroticism and difficulty communication in daily situations were negatively associated with MH-QoL at a statistically significant level.
Multiple linear regression, controlling for age, gender, and number of chronic conditions, revealed that only one explanatory variable – awareness of age-related loss - significantly predicted PH-QoL, with greater awareness of age-related loss predicting poorer PH-QoL. Multiple linear regression revealed that two explanatory variables predicted increased MH-QoL in aging adults who stutter: resilience and support group attendance. Two explanatory variables also predicted reduced MH-QoL: neuroticism and awareness of age-related loss. None of the explanatory variables interacted with stuttering severity to predict PH- or MH-QoL.
This study adds to a limited body of literature on quality of life in aging AWS by identifying risk and protective factors in PH- and MH-QoL in this talker group. Possible interventions for coping with age-related loss and neuroticism in addition to promoting resilience may be beneficial. Additional research will be needed to understand how the constructs of awareness of age-related loss, neuroticism, and resilience develop in aging adults who stutter and interact with physical and emotional functioning. Additional research will also be necessary to understand experience of aging in a more diverse sample of aging adults who stutter, and effects of resilience-focused interventions on quality of life in aging AWS. In the meantime, speech-language pathologists should endorse, organize, and facilitate support groups for aging AWS and help aging AWS minimize the impact of stuttering on daily communication in aging AWS.
Scholar Commons Citation
Kelly, Amanda, "Successful Aging in Adults Who Stutter: Exploring Predictors of Physical and Mental Health-Related Quality of Life" (2021). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.