Clues from caregiver emotional language usage highlight the link between putative social environment and the psychosis-risk syndrome

Tina Gupta*, William S. Horton, Claudia M. Haase, Emily E. Carol, Vijay A. Mittal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Familial emotional word usage has long been implicated in symptom progression in schizophrenia. However, few studies have examined caregiver emotional word usage prior to the onset of psychosis, among those with a clinical high-risk (CHR) syndrome. The current study examined emotional word usage in a sample of caregivers of CHR individuals (N = 37) and caregivers of healthy controls (N = 40) and links with clinical symptoms in CHR individuals. Caregivers completed a speech sample task in which they were asked to speak about the participant; speech samples were then transcribed and analyzed for general positive (e.g. good) and negative (e.g., worthless) emotional words as well as words expressing three specific negative emotions (i.e., anxiety, anger, and sadness) using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC). Findings indicated that (1) CHR caregivers used more negative and anxiety words compared to control caregivers; and (2) less positive word usage among CHR caregivers were related to more positive symptomatology among CHR individuals. These findings point toward the utility of automated language analysis in assessing the intersections between caregiver emotional language use and psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSchizophrenia Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Clinical high-risk
  • Family environment
  • Language
  • LIWC
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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