Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Vocal Manifestations of Reported Past Trauma

Becker, Diana Rose (2019) Vocal Manifestations of Reported Past Trauma. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (3MB) | Preview


Introduction: The human voice carries a wealth of information about a speaker’s physical and emotional states, personality, and perhaps even their past experiences. For many people, these experiences include the endurance of traumatic events, which can have an effect on psychological, physical, and neurobiological development. In turn, one’s past experiences of trauma might impact their vocal function and/or quality. The aims of this preliminary study are (1) to identify whether a connection exists between an individual’s past experiences and their vocal characteristics, and (2) to explore the extent to which so-called “laryngoresponders” display a unique set of acoustic features compared to “non-laryngoresponders”.

Methods: Data were collected from 29 vocally healthy females between 18 and 65 years of age. Participants completed self-report measures wherein they identified their somatic responses to stress, i.e., their vulnerable body pathway(s), allowing them to be characterized either as laryngoresponders or non-laryngoresponders. Additionally, participants completed self-report measures of personality and past traumatic experiences, and provided repeated samples of brief speech recordings for acoustic analysis. Descriptive statistics are reported for all data obtained. Pearson’s Product-Moment Correlation tests were performed to determine if acoustic measure change scores were related to scores obtained from the trauma questionnaires, and independent samples t-tests were performed on acoustic measure change scores for self-reported laryngoresponders versus non-laryngoresponders.

Results: No significant relationships were found between acoustic measure change scores and self-reported laryngoresponders, or between acoustic measure change scores and past experiences of trauma. However, laryngoresponders exhibited worse scores in 70.58% of all trauma measures. Unexpectedly low representation of traumatic experiences and laryngoresponders in the present cohort limited statistical power in this study, yet exploratory analyses were fruitful in identifying meaningful trends in the data to pursue in future studies.

Conclusions: The present study serves as a novel and innovative exploration of the relationship between past traumatic experiences and current vocal quality and voice-related somatic complaints. Although acoustic measures of dysphonia may lack sensitivity for identifying past trauma, preliminary findings do support a relationship between voice and trauma, specifically, with regards to the larynx as an underlying “vulnerable body pathway” in which stress can distinctly manifest.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Becker, Diana Rosedrb79@pitt.edudrb79
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorHelou, Leah
Committee MemberShaiman,
Committee MemberCoyle,
Date: 4 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 March 2019
Approval Date: 4 June 2019
Submission Date: 24 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 137
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: voice, speech, communication, trauma
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 19:22
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 19:22


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item