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Identifying Depression Through Language Use

In this study, the researchers introduce a linguistic measure of depressed language and explore its effectiveness in capturing depressed affect among three different groups. Their findings suggest that depressed individuals tend to use more first-person singular pronouns and negatively valanced words, and fewer positively valanced words.

Building on this, they hypothesize that individuals under conditions of chronic or acute stress will show increased use of depressed language. Across three studies involving university faculty, undergraduate college women, and gay men, they found that depressed language is consistently associated with both acute and chronic stress.

Their results suggest that this measure of depressed language could be a valuable tool for identifying depressed affect, and may be useful for both researchers and practitioners. By identifying patterns of depressed language in individuals under stress, we can better understand the connection between stress and depression, and develop more effective interventions.


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