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Identifying Depression and Suicidal Ideation through Language Analysis

The researchers conducted a study to determine clues of depression and suicidal ideation in college students' writing, using Receptiviti's LIWC framework. By analyzing the writing of 159 undergraduate students in the Philippines, the researchers found that students with high levels of depression and suicidal ideation tend to write using more personal pronouns.

LIWC dimensions, such as I-words and negative emotions, showed a significant link with depression, but only I-words were significantly associated with suicidal ideation. Additionally, the LIWC summary variables, such as clout and emotional tone, also showed a significant relationship with depression and suicidal ideation. Regression analysis revealed that these LIWC domains were significant predictors of depression, with emotional tone having a modest but significant influence on suicidal ideation.

These findings have important theoretical and practical implications for diagnosing depression and suicidal ideation. By using text analysis, mental health professionals may be able to more accurately identify these conditions in their patients. Furthermore, educators and parents can use these findings to identify students who may be struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts and provide them with the necessary support.

Read the research: Seeing the invisible: Extracting signs of depression and suicidal ideation from college students’ writing using LIWC a computerized text analysis

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