What are the main causes of stuttering

Stuttering - what is it?

Numerous questions about the cause of stuttering remain unanswered. However, it is known that there is not one cause, but rather that several factors contribute to the development of stuttering. Even if stressful experiences in childhood (accident, separation of parents, etc.) can trigger the onset of stuttering, they must not be understood as the actual cause. Neither does stuttering arise from "faults in upbringing" of the parents. The psychosocial stresses that are often associated with stuttering are therefore to be seen as a consequence and not as a cause of stuttering.

Current research on the development of stuttering shows that

  • Stuttering occurs in families. This suggests hereditary factors.
  • Stuttering is not inherited in the strict sense of the word, so there is no special "stuttering gene". Rather, only the predisposition to stuttering, i.e. the probability of whether stuttering occurs or not, is passed on.
  • there are certain changes in the brain in people who stutter. Speaking is a highly complex process that involves over 200 muscles, all of which have to be activated and controlled by the brain at the right time. For most people, certain areas in the left hemisphere are responsible for this. There are certain areas and nerve tracts that are responsible for the smooth running of the speech process. These are less well developed in stutterers than in normal speakers. One can therefore assume an "anatomical weakness" which probably contributes to the development and maintenance of the stuttering.

Even if the current research focuses on neurological explanatory approaches, other factors such as social environment, language development or individual requirements certainly play a role in the development of stuttering.

Further information on research into causes and theories on the development of stuttering can be found in a clear and easily understandable summary in Natke, U. (Ed.) (2013): Knowledge about stuttering. Neuss: Natke-Verlag.