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The Psychology of Word Use in Depression Forums in English and in Spanish

The researchers took a pioneering approach to studying depression expression on the internet. Using computerized methods, they conducted two studies to investigate how depression is expressed in English and Spanish forums. In Study 1, they analyzed linguistic markers of depression in posts from depressed and non-depressed individuals in both languages using a computer program (LIWC2001). The results revealed that linguistic cues associated with depression were more prevalent in posts from depressed individuals in both English and Spanish.

In Study 2, the researchers examined the themes people used when discussing their depression in forums in both languages. They found that English-speaking individuals tended to mention medicinal concerns, while Spanish-speaking individuals were more likely to mention relational concerns. These findings have important implications for understanding the informational and support needs of individuals with depression, as well as cultural differences in expressing depression online. The researchers address and discuss these implications in relation to psychotherapy and online support across different cultures.

Read the research: The Psychology of Word Use in Depression Forums in English and in Spanish: Testing Two Text Analytic Approaches

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