Employer Reactions to Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia: Exploring the Influence of Symptom Severity and Disclosure of Diagnosis During a Simulated Telephone Interview

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of symptom severity and disclosure of adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) on the perceptions of human resource personnel members (HRPs) during a simulated phone interview.

Method One female speaker with ADSD was recorded reading an interview script at two time points: (a) pre-BOTOX injection (severe), and (b) post-BOTOX injection (mild). Thirty-two HRPs evaluated the recording in one of the two conditions via a qualitative structured interview. HRPs gave their recommendations regarding when and how to disclose ADSD.

Results In the mild condition, no HRP perceived that the applicant had a voice disorder. Disclosure was not recommended as often, as an impairment was not initially noticed. However, 15/16 HRPs commented on the applicant’s voice in the severe condition, with most suspecting she was a smoker or had lung/throat cancer. Disclosure in the severe condition was recommended more often, as it clarified symptoms that were noted at the outset.

Conclusions Symptom severity in ADSD influences employer perceptions during the phone interview process. Incorrect assumptions may be made about applicants with severe symptoms, and apparentness of symptoms influences whether or not disclosure is recommended. Results have implications for counseling individuals with ADSD who are navigating the job interview process.

Part of this study was funded by a Royalty Research Fund grant (A88621, principal investigator: Tanya L. Eadie) at the University of Washington. The authors would like to acknowledge the research participants for their time, the speech-language pathology raters, and the members of the Vocal Function Lab at the University of Washington.
  • Derek D. Isetti
    Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
  • Carolyn R. Baylor
    Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Michael I. Burns
    Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Tanya L. Eadie
    Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
  • Correspondence to Derek D. Isetti: disetti1@pacific.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
  • Associate Editor: Preeti Sivasankar

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