Speech-Language Pathologists' Perceptions of Adults with Voice Disorders
Seegert, Emily A.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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PURPOSE: The study was completed in order to determine graduate student speech-language pathologists’ (SLP) and practicing SLPs’ perceptions and attitudes of adults with and without voice disorders. In addition, the study was designed to determine whether and to what extent there were differences within three groups (i.e., years of experience). METHOD: Three groups of listeners participated in this study: first year graduate SLP students, second year graduate SLP students, and practicing SLPs. The participants were asked to complete three semantic differential scales with 25 bipolar adjective pairs to make judgments for three voice samples within an online survey. These three included a normal sample, mild disorder sample, and a severe disorder sample. RESULTS: The mean ratings were more negative for the severe voice disorder sample than for the mild voice disorder or the normal voice samples in 23 out of the 25 adjective pairs (p < .05). The perceptions made by the first and second year graduate SLP student listeners were significantly different from the practicing SLPs (p < .05); however, the first and second year graduate SLP students’ perceptions were not statistically different. The second year graduate students were more similar in their ratings of the severe voice sample compared to the practicing SLPs than the first year graduate students. The practicing SLPs rated the samples more towards neutral (4 on the scale) compared to the first and second year graduate students. DISCUSSION: To the researcher’s knowledge, this is the first study to examine SLPs’ perceptions of adults with voice disorders. The results showed that the SLPs had more negative perceptions of an adult with a severe voice disorder than an adult without a voice disorder; however, more research needs to be completed in order to draw conclusions regarding these results.