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Title: Language Patterns of Depressed Individuals: A Comparison of Metaphors and Linguistic Dimensions of Depression Vulnerable and Never Depressed Individuals
Authors: Hart, Kamber
Advisors: Spokas, Megan
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Previous research identified linguistic patterns of depressed individuals that differ from the patterns of formerly and never depressed individuals. Additionally, previous research identified metaphors commonly used to describe depression (DARKNESS, DESCENT, WEIGHT, CAPTIVITY, PROCESS, SUFFERING, ANNIHILATION). The present study showed that currently depressed individuals used more first person pronouns and negative emotion words than never depressed individuals, providing evidence for models of depression proposed by Beck (1979), and Pyszczynski and Greenberg (1987). Additionally, currently depressed individuals used fewer social references and second person pronouns than never depressed individuals, which respectively supported Durkheim’s social isolation model (1897), and a distancing discursive style for never depressed individuals when talking about difficult life events. Men used more positive emotion words than women, but showed no difference in negative emotion words, highlighting a gendered discursive style. Finally, 6 of the 7 metaphor categories were important for describing negative life events, showing that all depression types have the same linguistic dimensions available. Currently depressed individuals used DESCENT, SUFFERING and ANNIHILATION, with greater frequencies than never depressed individuals. The increased rate of SUFFERING and ANNIHILATION metaphors confirms that depressed individuals describe their difficult experiences as more serious and severe than never depressed individuals.
Extent: 107 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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