Linguistic Markers of Trauma Symptoms Following Sexual Abuse in Female Adolescent Inpatients



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Sexual trauma is a widespread and serious issue in adolescent females. Unfortunately, subsequent PTSD symptoms is a common consequence for individuals who experience this form of trauma. Additionally, inpatient adolescents report elevated rates of PTSD symptoms and sexual abuse has been found to be the largest contributor to trauma symptoms in adolescent inpatients. Therefore, female adolescent inpatients constitute a high risk population for sexual trauma and resulting trauma symptoms. More concerning are the limitations of current methods (e.g. self-report, clinical interview) in accurately measuring trauma symptoms. The aim of the current study is to use the computer program Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) to analyze trauma narratives of female adolescents in an inpatient facility and determine if specific linguistic markers are associated to an individual’s current symptomology. Additionally, it will be determined if these linguistic markers can predict trauma symptom change from time of admission to time of discharge. Conducting a LIWC analysis will provide objective data about adolescent’s language use that can aid in obtaining an accurate measure of inpatients trauma symptoms.



Linguistics, Trauma, Sexual abuse, Adolescent, Inpatient