Me, Myself, and I: MultiLevel Modeling of Self-Focused Language Use and Depression in the Context of Divorce
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractResearch demonstrates that self-focus and self-focused language is associated with depression. However, little is known about the direction of causality between self-focused language and depression, nor how this association may operate over time. In this honors thesis I investigate how self-focused language, as operationalized by participants’ use of first-person singular pronouns during a divorce-related stream-of-consciousness (SOC) recording, may slow or speed mood symptom recovery following a marital separation; similarly, I examine how selfreported mood symptoms are prospectively associated with the use of first-person singular language. 105 recently separated participants (n = 105, 38 men) completed this study and made three SOC recordings about their divorce over a period of 9 months; the SOC recordings were then transcribed and submitted to the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) computer program, which derives language use data across several dimensions. It was hypothesized that a reciprocal association between self-focused language and depression would be discovered through multilevel modeling analysis. Results indicate that first-person singular I Words have a lagged effect on BDI scores, but that BDI scores do not have a lagged effect on I Words. Discussion centers on this finding in the context of previous literature.
Degree ProgramHonors College