Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Christine Weber-Fox

Committee Chair

Christine Weber-Fox

Committee Member 1

Laurence Leonard

Committee Member 2

Anne Smith


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between expressive and receptive language, phonological, and verbal working memory proficiencies in the preschool years and eventual recovery from or persistence in stuttering. Participants included 40 children who stutter (CWS). At ages 3-5 years, participants were administered the Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language, 3rd edition (TACL-3), the Structured Photographic Expressive Language Test, 3rd edition (SPELT-3), Bankson-Bernthal Test of Phonology--Consonant Inventory subtest (BBTOP--CI), Test of Auditory Perceptual Skills--Revised (TAPS--R) auditory number memory and auditory word memory subtests, and the Dollaghan & Campbell Nonword Repetition Test (NRT). Stuttering behaviors were tracked in subsequent years, forming groups of children whose stuttering eventually persisted (CWS-Per; n=18) or recovered (CWS-Rec; n=22). Proficiency scores in morphosyntactic skills, consonant production, verbal working memory for known words, and phonological working memory for novel sequences obtained at 3-5 years of age were analyzed according to these groups. Results indicated that the major linguistic proficiency indices of eventual recovery or persistence of stuttering were related to phonological processing. Specifically, compared to CWS-Rec, CWS-Per were less proficient in measures of consonant production and repetition of novel phonological sequences. In contrast, receptive and expressive language proficiencies, as well as verbal working memory abilities, were quite similar for the two groups, though lower scores in expressive language abilities for CWS-Per neared statistical significance. These findings strongly suggest that phonological abilities in the preschool years should be taken into account as part of a comprehensive assessment for risk of the development of chronic stuttering.