Qualitative Analysis of Covert Stuttering: Workplace Implications and Saving Face

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



The study investigated former covertly stuttering people within a qualitative research paradigm. Open-ended, ethnographic interviews were carried out with six adults who identified themselves as people who stutter and also who, for some time in their lives, covertly stuttered. The six participants shared their experiences of covert stuttering and their process of coming to terms with overt stuttering with three whose experiences related strongly with workplace issues. Emerging themes dealt with why some people maintain their covertness in the workplace, i.e., saving face and maintaining one’s professional reputation. In contrast, the interviews elucidated why and how individuals with covert stuttering, through workplace penalties, can come to realize that hiding one’s stuttering is unproductive. Considering parallels with other marginalized populations, recommendations for future directions in covert stuttering research are presented.


ISBN 9781940425368 (cloth); 9781940425399 (pbk.); 9781940425375 (ebook).

The attached file is a description of the research at the 2013 Stuttering Attitudes and Research Symposium, Morgantown, WV.

Recommended Citation

Douglass, J. & Tetnowski, J. (2015). Qualitative analysis of covert stuttering: workplace implications and saving face. In K.O. St. Louis (Ed.), Stuttering Meets Stereotype, Stigma and Discrimination: An Overview of Attitude Research. Morganville, WV: West Virginia University Press.

Douglass and Tetnowski Covert Stuttering.pdf (328 kB)
Research Description