The purpose of this study was to examine attributions of stuttering made by adolescents and young adults toward a peer who stutters, with specific regard to the fundamental attribution error. College students were shown a video of a first-year college student who stutters, talking about himself and some of his interests. The study utilized survey-based quantitative methods to explore the nature of the fundamental attribution error in these processes. Results showed that, across a variety of semantic frames, participants did not attribute the individual’s stuttering behaviors in the video to his disposition significantly more than to external, situational factors. Participants also did not agree that the individual’s intelligence was lower than average or negatively affected by his stuttering. These findings indicated an opposition to the fundamental attribution error – the power of the situational factors in affecting stuttering were adequately recognized. These findings are not meant to generalize to greater populations that present different characteristics from adolescents and young adults, given the significant developmental changes that occur during this period. Future research in the area of perceptions of people who stutter should include investigation of diverse populations including different age groups, as well as members of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In addition, the relationship between disclosure of one’s stuttering and perceptions of stuttering should be researched. In the world of stuttering, one of the ultimate goals is a more tolerant and accepting community for people who stutter, and the findings of this study offer an encouraging contribution.


Casey, Michael

Second Advisor

Goldberg, Donald


Communication Sciences and Disorders; Psychology


Social Psychology | Speech Pathology and Audiology


stuttering, fundamental attribution error, perceptions, stigma, disfluency

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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