Stammering teenagers

What are the causes?


Why do people stammer?

What are the causes?

We don't really know yet. Scientists have been working for years to try and find out whether there is a cause and whether there is a cure. So far all that has been agreed is that the problem is highly complicated.

It probably isn't caused by one single thing. It's more likely that it is the result of a combination of things. More importantly the "ingredients" of stammering are probably different for every person who has a stammer and that the things that help stammering may be slightly different for everyone too.

Different factors may be impacting on the stammering:

Physical/biological factors

Family history of stammering in blood relatives

The organisation of the brain for speaking

The co-ordination of the speech mechanism
These are all probably inter-related.

Speech and language development 

There seems to be some link between the way in which a child develops speech and language which is important. This may either be that a child is quicker or slower than his age group, or that there were some earlier, sometimes quite subtle, difficulties

There may still be some minor, often unrecognised, difficulties. An example would be in 'word retrieval' or 'word finding' - here the filing system for vocabulary is not very efficient. It's the 'tip of the tongue' phenomenon! The person knows exactly what they want to say but the exact word they want to use escapes them for a second or two

The person's instinctive or natural rate of talking also may be influential

Environment - past and present 

Family life

Rapid pace of life - lots of commitments, activities and demands

Everyone speaking quickly

Everyone talking at once

Expectation to speak up - whenever

Personality - the sort of person you are can make a difference

High achievers


Perfectionist (or self-critical)


Each person has a different set of factors that makes them vulnerable to stammering in the first place. But perhaps it is now more important to consider what is keeping it going.