The Extraverted Personality and Stuttering


Our personalities can determine a lot about the way we live – how we relate to our surroundings, our reactions to different people and situations, and the coping methods we employ during those times when the universe throws a monkey-wrench into our life’s machinery. While there are many factors to personality composition, one of the most obvious is a person’s degree of extraversion versus intraversion.

Personality typing can seem unfairly restrictive – after all, everyone is capable of displaying qualities of either type depending on the circumstances. That is why a person's "type" is not a black and white label but a matter of degree. Psychologists measure extroversion on a scale from “low” to “high”. 

Measuring Extraversion

Personality studies, such as the Myers-Briggs type indicator, have shown that the ratio of intraverts to extraverts in the general population is roughly half, with just slightly more extraverts (51% to 49%). Women, however, tend to be more extraverted than men. The 2014 study from the Netherlands, Extraversion and Communication Attitude in People who Stutter: a Preliminary Study, looks at how the personality factor of extraversion relates to communication attitude as it pertains to people who stutter. Is there a relationship between the degree of extraversion in a PWS and his attitude towards communication? 

Cognitive and Emotional Factors in Stuttering Treatment

Today most Speech-Language Pathologists agree that the best stuttering treatment takes into account not just achieving fluency, but considers emotional and psychological factors. Cognitive factors such as attitude and emotions are taken into account. This impacts the success of treatment, especially self-regulated maintenance after sessions with a therapist have ended. Therefore a study of these factors can help inform speech therapy to make it more effective. 

Prior Research

First of all, the paper looks into previous research on the topic, and cites studies that demonstrated the following:

  • Extraverts have a more positive attitude towards communication than introverts, as they gain energy from interacting with other people.
  • The distribution of extraverts amongst people who stutter is the same as in the general population.
  • Extraverted people who stutter are less affected by their stuttering than intraverts, who tend more to dwell on negative thoughts and bad memories.
  • Stutterers overall are more likely to have a negative attitudes towards communication.
  • There is no correlation between the severity of the person's stuttering and their attitude toward communication – a very mild stutterer can have a more negative attitude than one whose problem is more severe.
  • A PWS's attitude towards communication improves over the course of treatment.


Extraversion and Positive Communication Attitude: the Study

This study had 30 participants, 23 men and 7 women, and were PWS who had sought out stuttering treatment at a clinic in the Netherlands. They completed the scientifically formulated questionnaires measuring degree of extraversion and communication attitude (the Erickson Communication Attitude Scale) both before and after treatment.  

Is the determination of personality type something that could inform a more customized and effective stuttering treatment?The fact that people who stutter tend to have negative attitudes about communication, even though extraverts comprise roughly half the population of stutterers, shows that the naturally positive attitude extraverts have towards communication was diminished due to stuttering.  Yet with regards to people who stutter, did a correlation between degree of extraversion and their attitude towards communication? Is the determination of personality type something that could inform a more customized and effective stuttering treatment?


Communication attitude is one of the things measured in the assessment of people who stutter to inform diagnosis and treatment, usually through the Erickson Questionnaire. This study sought to explore the role of personality in this measurement. It concluded that there was indeed a correlation between communication attitude and degree of extraversion in people who stutter, as measured by the questionnaires used as diagnostic tools. A high degree of extraversion correlated with the degree of positivity towards communication. Examining and discussing personality as a factor of treatment could bring  a new, customized dimension to that treatment to make it more effective on a personal level for the client. As the paper states, "The identification of a client’s personality type, and where they fit on the scale can help inform that person who may not be aware of this assessment." Both the client and the therapist can gain insight into the best way for him to approach his therapy and self-maintenance post-treatment.


Research paper title: Extraversion and Communication Attitude in People who Stutter: a Preliminary Study 
Researchers: L.Stipdonk, A. Lieftink, J. Bouwen, F. Wijnen
Educational Institute: Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Utrecht University, Utrecht. The Netherlands.
Source: Journal of Fluency Disorders 42, (2014)

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