Narrating psychological distress

Associations between cross-clausal integration and mental health difficulties

Jorg Zinken, Caroline Blakemore, Katarzyna Zinken, Lisa D Butler, Timothy Skinner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Psychological research has emphasized the importance of narrative for a person's sense of self. Building a coherent narrative of past events is one objective of psychotherapy. However, in guided self-help therapy the patient has to develop this narrative autonomously. Identifying patients’ narrative skills in relation to psychological distress could provide useful information about their suitability for self-help. The aim of this study was to explore whether the syntactic integration of clauses into narrative in texts written by prospective psychotherapy patients was related to mild to moderate psychological distress. Cross-clausal syntax of texts by 97 people who had contacted a primary care mental health service was analyzed. Severity of symptoms associated with mental health difficulties was assessed by a standardized scale (Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation outcome measure). Cross-clausal syntactic integration was negatively correlated with the severity of symptoms. A multiple regression analysis confirmed that the use of simple sentences, finite complement clauses, and coordinated clauses was associated with symptoms (R2 = .26). The results suggest that the analysis of cross-clausal syntax can provide information on patients’ narrative skills in relation to distressing events and can therefore provide additional information to support treatment decisions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)263-274
    Number of pages12
    JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
    Volume32
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Fingerprint

    Mental Health
    mental health
    Psychology
    narrative
    Psychotherapy
    self-help
    psychotherapy
    syntax
    Mental Health Services
    Primary Health Care
    event
    Regression Analysis
    Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
    Psychological Distress
    regression analysis
    health service
    Therapeutics
    Research
    human being
    Syntax

    Cite this

    Zinken, Jorg ; Blakemore, Caroline ; Zinken, Katarzyna ; Butler, Lisa D ; Skinner, Timothy. / Narrating psychological distress : Associations between cross-clausal integration and mental health difficulties. In: Applied Psycholinguistics. 2011 ; Vol. 32, No. 2. pp. 263-274.
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    title = "Narrating psychological distress: Associations between cross-clausal integration and mental health difficulties",
    abstract = "Psychological research has emphasized the importance of narrative for a person's sense of self. Building a coherent narrative of past events is one objective of psychotherapy. However, in guided self-help therapy the patient has to develop this narrative autonomously. Identifying patients’ narrative skills in relation to psychological distress could provide useful information about their suitability for self-help. The aim of this study was to explore whether the syntactic integration of clauses into narrative in texts written by prospective psychotherapy patients was related to mild to moderate psychological distress. Cross-clausal syntax of texts by 97 people who had contacted a primary care mental health service was analyzed. Severity of symptoms associated with mental health difficulties was assessed by a standardized scale (Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation outcome measure). Cross-clausal syntactic integration was negatively correlated with the severity of symptoms. A multiple regression analysis confirmed that the use of simple sentences, finite complement clauses, and coordinated clauses was associated with symptoms (R2 = .26). The results suggest that the analysis of cross-clausal syntax can provide information on patients’ narrative skills in relation to distressing events and can therefore provide additional information to support treatment decisions.",
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    Narrating psychological distress : Associations between cross-clausal integration and mental health difficulties. / Zinken, Jorg; Blakemore, Caroline; Zinken, Katarzyna; Butler, Lisa D; Skinner, Timothy.

    In: Applied Psycholinguistics, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2011, p. 263-274.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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