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A meta-analysis of correlations between depression and first person singular pronoun use

In the Receptiviti LIWC Research Series, we highlight important research conducted using our platform and science that has implications for our customers' and partners' businesses and for society at large:

Depression is a burden. We discuss how theories, identification, assessment, and treatment of depression are at least partially tied to the correlation between first person singular pronoun use and individual differences in depression. We conducted a meta-analysis (k = 21, N = 3758) of these correlations, including numerous unpublished correlations from the file drawer. Our fixed effects analysis revealed a small correlation (r = 0.13, 95% CI = [0.10–0.16]) by modern standards. The correlation was not moderated by gender, nor by whether the effect had been published. These results more firmly establish first person singular pronoun use as a linguistic marker of depression - a marker that appears to be useful across demographic lines.

Read the article


Edwards, T., & Holtzman, N. S. (2017). A meta-analysis of correlations between depression and first person singular pronoun use. Journal of Research in Personality, 68, 63–68.

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