The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Communication Sciences and Disorders: M.S.


Communication Sciences and Disorders


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Janet Tilstra

Second Advisor

Teri Estrem

Third Advisor

Kelly Branam Macauley

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

perceptions, POSHA-S, stuttering, attitudes



Stuttering is a disorder of speech fluency “in which a speaker typically repeats or prolongs parts of words or gets stuck on words.” (St. Louis, 2012a). Consequently, people who stutter (PWS) usually have difficulty expressing their thoughts verbally. PWS may experience difficulties participating fully in society due to self-perceived or societal barriers. The attitudes of people who do not stutter toward PWS are important in understanding the types and degree of barriers in PWS’ lives. Extensive research has been completed on attitudes about PWS, yet limited evidence describes how to best modify college student attitudes toward PWS. Changes in attitudes toward PWS have been shown to change in a positive direction following an intervention about stuttering. Podcasting is a relatively new format of communication where personal stories can be shared in brief format. Utilizing a podcast to expose listeners to stuttering has the potential to influence a powerful change in attitudes of college students towards PWS by allowing them to hear the voice and personal story of a PWS.


The purpose of this study was to identify and examine whether college students who do not stutter exhibit an attitude change toward PWS when participating in: a) an emotional, humorous, and educational podcast or b) a written dictation of the same podcast. In addition, we examined if attitude changes are similar across these two formats and how the attitudes of students in the present study towards PWS compared with other student groups in the Public Opinion Survey of Human Attributes – Stuttering (POSHA-S) international database.

Method and Procedure

Thirty-nine college students participated in this quasi-experimental group study. One class of students listened to a 30-minute podcast interview in class and the control group read a written dictation of the podcast in class. Participant attitudes of stuttering were measured one week prior to and one week following the intervention using the POSHA-S. Immediately after the intervention, participants completed select questions from a subscale section of the POSHA-S related to Self-Reaction towards PWS. Statistical analysis was completed comparing pre-post outcomes for individuals and groups.


This project was accomplished with the continual support of an exceptional group of people. I would like to thank the members of my committee: Dr. Janet Tilstra, Dr. Teri Estrem, and Dr. Kelly Branam Macauley. I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Dr. Tilstra, for her wisdom and advice as it applies to research methodologies and fluency disorders and facilitating my clinical growth throughout this research process. Her expertise in academic writing paired with her continued emotional support provided the platform I needed to push myself to accomplish this goal. I can’t thank her enough for serving as a pivotal clinical and research figure that I aspire to one day emulate as a professor. I would like to thank Dr. Estrem for her advice and knowledge as it relates to research and academic writing, and her detailed suggestions that have improved the overall quality of this project. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Branam Macauley for her support, guidance, and allowing me to enter her classroom to conduct my research. Her guidance elevated this study by encouraging me to not only identify attitudes of college students and possible biases but attempt to change attitudes and biases. This study would not have been possible without their support.

I would also like to extend my sincerest gratitude to the creator of the POSHA-S and a fundamental resource in my research, Dr. Kenneth St. Louis. He laid the foundational groundwork to facilitate identifying and changing attitudes toward people who stutter internationally that made this research possible. I admire and aspire to mirror his commitment and ingenuity in the field of fluency disorders and speech-language pathology.

Next, I would like to acknowledge my graduate school cohort. Their unwavering encouragement aided me throughout this research process. To my fellow classmate completing a thesis, Hannah Judovsky, thank you for going through this process with me and for your endless positivity and support. To my fellow cohort members Megan Bartkowski, HannaLee Kingstrom, and Amy Marohl: their humor, friendship, and arduous professional curiosity were vital in each step.

Thank you to my family and friends for their dedication and pride in my research accomplishments. To my mom, dad, and brother for their continued financial and emotional help in my academic journey, I would not be here without them. With each unforeseen road block, I persevered due to the dedicated worth ethic and foundational resilience you emulated for and built in me. A special thanks to my best friend Aspen Doud, for acting as a continual sounding board for research ideas, reading drafts, listening to podcasts, inspiring me through her research, and her continual encouragement.