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Evaluating Aspects of Social Anxiety Disorder in Non-Treatment-Seeking Adults who Stutter: Implications for Measurement and Treatment Open Access

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Stuttering and social anxiety disorder (SAD) share characteristics such as fear and anxiety toward social situations. Despite similarities, the underlying cognitive biases that perpetuate these characteristics in SAD have only begun to be studied in stuttering. We investigated judgment bias, the overestimation of probability and cost of negative outcomes for social situations, in a sample of persons who stutter (PWS) and a sample of age- and gender-matched typically fluent controls (NPWS). There were no between-group differences for trait anxiety. Although results indicated no between-group differences in judgment bias for social situations, further investigation revealed significant differences in judgment bias for social situations between PWS with high FNE and PWS with low FNE. Group differences were observed between PWS with high FNE, PWS with low FNE, and NPWS for distribution of judgment bias for different types of situations. PWS with high FNE perceived positive and mildly negative social scenarios as more threatening that the other two groups did. Future directions to evaluate potential treatment options for PWS such as measurement of faulty attention or interpretation bias in PWS are discussed.

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