Psychogenic Stuttering: Definition & Characteristics

Instructor: Justine Fritzel

Justine has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years and has a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree.

There are different causes for stuttering and psychogenic stuttering is one of those that occur rarely. In this lesson, we will learn about what psychogenic stuttering is and what causes it.


Most of us remember the famous cartoon character with a stutter. Porky Pig was famous for saying ''Th-th-that's all folks!'' We loved Porky Pig and probably never thought much of his stutter, but in fact stuttering can be very distressful to a person dealing with it.

Stuttering is a speech disorder in which you know exactly what you want to say but you have trouble getting it said smoothly. It is characterized by repetitious sounds, prolongation of sounds, or cessation of sounds.

Porky Pig
porky pig

Repetition of sounds would be like Porky Pig saying, ''Th-th-that's all, folks.'' But if Porky Pig had trouble with prolongation it would have sounded like, ''Thhhhhhhhat's all, folks.'' Cessation of sounds is abnormal stoppages in speech with no sound. Porky Pig might have sounded like, ''That's...folks.''

Let's learn a little bit more about the different causes of stuttering.

Causes of Stuttering

You could develop a stutter for different reasons. Developmental stuttering begins in early childhood and has actually been linked to genetic mutations for causing it.

Neurogenic stuttering can develop at any age and is a result of injury to the brain. Examples would include a traumatic brain injury or stroke.

Some medications may cause stuttering and is called pharmacological stuttering.

At one time, all stuttering was believed to be caused by psychogenic stuttering. This has since been proven false and actually only occurs rarely. Let's look more in depth at psychogenic stuttering next.

Psychogenic Stuttering

Psychogenic stuttering is defined as stuttering that results from a traumatic event. Because of that fact, we usually see this developing in adulthood. If you experience a psychological disturbance or emotionally traumatic event, it may result in psychogenic stuttering.

It can be challenging to differentiate if the stuttering is due to psychogenic causes or other causes of stuttering. As we briefly discussed earlier, developmental stuttering starts in early childhood when a child is developing their language and speech skills. If the stuttering develops later in life and there is no history of stuttering, we could rule out developmental stuttering.

Psychogenic stuttering begins abruptly. Your physician would want to review your medications and make sure that they aren't causing the stuttering.

Interestingly, if you stutter but speak or sing with someone else in unison, your speech will flow smoothly. In psychogenic stuttering, this is not the case.

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