Genetic and environmental effects on stuttering: a twin study from Finland

Pirkko Rautakoski, Therese Hannus, Susanna Simberg, N. Kenneth Sandnabba, Pekka Santtila

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The present study explored the prevalence of self-reported stuttering in a Finnish twin population and examined the extent to which the variance in liability to stuttering was attributable to genetic and environmental effects. We analyzed data of 1728 Finnish twins, born between 1961 and 1989. The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire on speech, language, and voice. In two of the questions they were asked to report the occurrence of childhood and present stuttering of their own and that of their sibling. According to the results, 2.3% (52) of the participants were reported to have stuttered as children and 28.8% of them (15) were reported to continue to stutter in adulthood. There was no significant gender difference in the prevalence of stuttering in either childhood or adulthood. For childhood stuttering, the tetrachoric correlation was higher for monozygotic pairs (r=.74) than for dizygotic pairs (r=.27). By means of structural equation modeling it was found that 82% of the variance in liability to childhood stuttering was attributable to additive genetic effects, with the remaining 18% due to non-shared environmental effects. In conclusion, the results of the present study confirm findings from prior studies and support a strong genetic and only a moderate non-shared environmental effect on stuttering. Potential small differences in the prevalence of stuttering in different populations are suggested by our data. EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES: The reader will be able to recognize the contribution of genetic and environmental effects on stuttering.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)202–210
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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