Disordered Thought, Disordered Language: A corpus-based description of the speech of individuals undergoing treatment for schizophrenia

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Steuber, Lucas Carl
Portland State University Library
Formal thought disorder; Corpus linguistics; Schizophrenia; Schizophrenics -- Language; Depressed persons -- Language; Language disorders -- Psychological aspects; Speech disorders -- Psychological aspects; Cognition disorders -- Psychological aspects
report description
The characteristics of patient speech are used in clinical settings to make assumptions about the thought processes of people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. However, there have not been any studies of the language of people with schizophrenia that present evidence drawn from a large group of speakers. This study employs a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to determine whether 140 medicated individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia exhibit the linguistic abnormalities claimed in the literature. It also compares the speech of people with schizophrenia with that of people diagnosed with depression in order to assess whether there is a statistically significant difference in presence and/or frequency of abnormal speech between the two groups. Ultimately this study finds that all of the specific types of abnormal language behavior described in the literature do occur among a large group of individuals with schizophrenia. However, many such behaviors also occur among individuals with depression; there was a significant difference between the two groups for three of the twelve categories of language features assessed in this study, which were peculiar word choice, illogicality and distractibility. Further characteristics of the language of individuals with schizophrenia were also found, which could be a basis for improving clinical diagnostic materials.