Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 11-36

First online:

Children's speech as a source of data toward the measurement of psychological states

  • Louis A. GottschalkAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, California College of Medicine, University of California at IrvinePsychiatric Services, Orange County Medical Center

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A measurement of psychological states, based on the objective content analysis of small samples of speech, has undergone thorough reliability and constructvalidation studies for individuals in the age range 17–70. The present report is a first step in the extension of this method to children ages 6–16. It has involved a descriptive analysis of the frequency of use of various verbal content categories of 109 schoolchildren, roughly stratified for grade. Percentile scores have been obtained for such content analysis scales as anxiety, hostility outward, hostility inward, ambivalent hostility, social alienation-personal disorganization, cognitive impairment, human relations, hope, and achievement strivings. Comparisons are made between these children's scores on such measures and similar scores obtained from adults. Sex differences and developmental trends are examined.