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Anxiety and Depression in Speech

Benjamin Pope, Thomas Blass, Aron W. Siegman and Jack Raher

The association of certain nonlexical and functional attributes of speech with anxiety and depression is investigated in 10-minute monologues taped by a sample of psychosomatic patients.  The data consist of eight high- and eight low-anxiety monologues of six patients (i.e., a total of 96) and a similar sampling of depressive monologues.  Anxiety was positively related to rate of verbal productivity and speech disturbance; negatively to silent pauses.  Depression was negatively related to rate of productivity and filled pauses; positively to silent pauses.   These findings are discussed in terms of the activation effects of anxiety and depression.  Additional borderline results indicated a positive relationship between anxiety and Resistiveness in speech and a negative relationship between depression and Superficiality.
Pope, B., T. Blass, A. Seigman, & J. Raher 1970 Anxiety and Depression in Speech. In Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 35/1: 128-133.

Key points relevant to the study of filled pauses


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