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Coping responses by adults who stutter, Part 2

FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE COPING CHOICES

Many things effect how a person decides to cope with stress. A person’s commitment and beliefs is important. As mentioned earlier one’s “locus of control” would  be one thing that determines his/her self-efficacy. What is important or meaningful to them is another thing: if they value personal relationships and friendships, they are more likely to want to communicate with others. On the other hand, if they are introverted and value “alone-time” and their own emotional independence, they might not see a cognitive based approach as worth the effort.

Another factor is the characteristics of the situation at hand. Is it a novel situation, or a common occurrence? What is the duration of the situation? What is the level of social support available at that time? Do they know the people present, or are they strangers? All these things are factors in how a person chooses to cope with a problem.

We are not our stuttering

All the participants in the study agreed that breaking out of patterns of hiding and escape helped to “improve self-concept, broaden perspective and recognize capabilities”. With age and maturity, as they found skills and made accomplishments in life, they were able to “interpret stuttering as a less prominent characteristic” of themselves. This process, of separating the SELF from the STUTTERING, is a major step in cognitive coping with the problem. Before a person finds their footing in adulthood and develops abilities and talents, stuttering can be all-consuming, and predominate in the small world of a child. Gradually, the disability becomes less of a defining thing in one’s life.

It’s possible, if stuttering is too wrapped up in a person’s identity, that it is hard to detach from the problem, as it is “too much of a change in identity.” If the subject is more detached from the problem (easier for some people than others) change is all the more possible.

It's not about the listener

Another thing that helped, according to the participants, was to focus less on the needs of the listener. It is possible that being overt about stuttering might make some listeners uncomfortable, but in the study five out of nine subjects acknowledged that it was beneficial and reduced pressure on them to hide their stuttering. This didn’t necessarily reduce the stuttering, but did help the emotions surrounding it.

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