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Black American Men Who Stutter: A Qualitative Analysis of How Communicative, Cultural and Race-Ethnic Factors Affect Identity and Lifestyle

by Derek Eugene Daniels

Complete abstract: The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to develop an understanding of how communicative, cultural and race-ethnic factors affect the identity and lifestyle of Black American men who stutter. The majority of stuttering research in the field of communication disorders is designed to reflect quantitative paradigms that focus primarily on physical actions of speech. Moreover, many writers and investigators allude to the idea that racial, ethnic and cultural dimensions influence the lives of people who stutter, but rarely will one find in-depth studies to document this supposition. This study was designed to expand knowledge of what it means to be a person who stutters, and how communicative, cultural and race-ethnic factors affect one's identity and lifestyle. The primary investigator conducted semi-structured interviews with six participants. An initial 60 to 90 minute videotaped interview was designed to elicit each participant's life experience of being both a Black American male and a person who stutters. During this initial interview, the participant was also asked to respond to a contrived scenario. Data were analyzed for major and minor themes using a dramaturgical methodology (i.e., abstracting major and minor themes about (a) being Black American, (b) being a person who stutters, (c) identity and (d) lifestyle). The primary investigator conducted a follow-up interview with each participant approximately a week later to assess the credibility of the data analysis. Based on findings from the narrative interpretations and scenario answers, two major themes emerged: (a) avoidance and (b) perseverance. Minor themes included (a) race-ethnic dimensions to the participant's life experience, (b)perceptions of stuttering as physical actions of speech with little associated social implications, (c) negative self-esteem and (d) personal identity conflicts. Results indicate that communicative, cultural and race-ethnic factors influence the lives of Black American men who stutter.

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