Depressed Individuals Use Negative Self-Focused Language When Recalling Recent Interactions with Close Romantic Partners but Not Family or Friends

Taleen Nalabandian, Molly Ireland


Abstract
Depression is characterized by a self-focused negative attentional bias, which is often reflected in everyday language use. In a prospective writing study, we explored whether the association between depressive symptoms and negative, self-focused language varies across social contexts. College students (N = 243) wrote about a recent interaction with a person they care deeply about. Depression symptoms positively correlated with negative emotion words and first-person singular pronouns (or negative self-focus) when writing about a recent interaction with romantic partners or, to a lesser extent, friends, but not family members. The pattern of results was more pronounced when participants perceived greater self-other overlap (i.e., interpersonal closeness) with their romantic partner. Findings regarding how the linguistic profile of depression differs by type of relationship may inform more effective methods of clinical diagnosis and treatment.
Anthology ID:
W19-3008
Volume:
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology
Month:
June
Year:
2019
Address:
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Venues:
CLPsych | NAACL | WS
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
62–73
Language:
URL:
https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W19-3008
DOI:
10.18653/v1/W19-3008
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PDF:
http://aclanthology.lst.uni-saarland.de/W19-3008.pdf