Duane A. Dale

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communication Sciences & Disorders


The purpose of this study was to determine any differences or similarities between the effects of five-second and ten-second time-out durations on the frequency of criterion stuttering behaviors.

Four adults, who exhibited stuttering behavior, were selected as subjects. Each subject was studied individually for four sessions. Each session consisted of five ten-minute segments, including (1) baseline, (2) treatment, (3) extinction, (4) treatment, and (5) extinction. During treatment segments, time-out stimuli of either five-second or ten-second durations were delivered contingent upon the occurrence of each criterion stuttering behavior. Time-out stimuli consisted of a brief period of time during which the subject was not permitted to speak, and were signalled by a red light that was illuminated contingent upon criterion stuttering behavior.

Results indicated that neither the ten-second nor five-second stimulus was superior to the other in suppressing stuttering behavior. Further, it was shown that recovery from the different treatment conditions did not differ significantly. Periodically, for two of the subjects, complete suppression of criterion stuttering behavior was achieved during each of the time-out contingencies.

It was concluded that clinicians utilizing time-out procedures in their treatment of individuals who stutter could use five-second time-out durations in lieu of ten-second time-out durations; with both client and clinician benefiting from the increased efficiency.