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The effects of stress reactivity on extralaryngeal muscle tension in vocally normal participants as a function of personality

Dietrich, Maria (2009) The effects of stress reactivity on extralaryngeal muscle tension in vocally normal participants as a function of personality. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The "theory of the dispositional bases of vocal nodules and functional dysphonia" (Roy & Bless, 2000) represents an important step toward the understanding of the relation between personality and voice disorders. However, experimental tests of this theory are widely lacking.In this study, female healthy and vocally normal adults between the ages of 18-35 years were divided into two groups, introversion (n = 27) and extraversion (n = 27), based on results on the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire- Revised (EPQ-R). Both groups underwent a stress reactivity protocol, which involved a simulated public speaking stressor in addition to baseline speech, rest, and recovery phases. Participants in the introversion group had significantly higher scores on voice handicap and depression than participants in the extraversion group. The introversion group exhibited significantly greater infrahyoid muscle activity (surface electromyography) and perceptions of vocal effort throughout the protocol. However, although greater stress reactivity was also descriptively observed for those measures in the introversion group, the phase by personality interaction was non-significant as were group differences for submental and anterior tibialis muscle activity. Voice fundamental frequency and intensity significantly decreased during stressor exposure for both groups. The stress induction was effective and significantly increased systolic blood pressure (SBP) and negative affect in everyone. The degree of rumination was not different between groups, but the participants with introversion experienced significantly more fear of public speaking. Neither SBP, negative affect, nor fear of public speaking were significantly correlated with SEMG activity in the participant pool. Instead the trait introversion was significantly and positively correlated with infrahyoid muscle activity in the total sample. This psychobiological study is first examination of the trait theory of voice disorders to focus on the role of stress reactivity. Results indicated that persons with introversion had a disposition towards increased infrahyoid extralaryngeal muscle activity combined with greater perceptions of vocal effort during speech, which were both magnified under conditions of psychological stress. Findings were tentatively interpreted to be consistent with behavioral inhibition in individuals high on introversion as predicted in the trait theory of voice disorders, which may constitute a risk factor for muscle tension dysphonia.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAbbott, Katherine Verdolinikittie@csd.pitt.eduKAV25
Committee MemberMarsland, Anna Lmarsland@pitt.eduMARSLAND
Committee MemberJennings, J Richardjenningsjr@upmc.eduINJENN
Committee MemberYaruss, J Scottjsyaruss@pitt.eduJSYARUSS
Committee MemberShaiman, Susanshaiman@pitt.eduSHAIMAN
Date: 5 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 11 December 2008
Approval Date: 5 June 2009
Submission Date: 15 April 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: autonomic blood pressure reactivity; behavioral inhibition; fear of public speaking; introversion; muscle tension dysphonia; negative affect; personality; vocal effort; voice disorders; extralaryngeal muscle tension; stress reactivity
Other ID:, etd-04152009-220132
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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