Nonpsychotic thought disorder: Objective clinical identification of somatization and antisocial personality in language patterns

Carol S North, Kimberlee Hansen, Richard D. Wetzel, Wilson Compton, Mark Napier, Edward L. Spitznagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This report describes a new method of using language patterns to identify somatization and antisocial personality (ASPD) disorders in clinical practice. A set of definitions describing characteristic speech patterns was developed to identify 'nonpsychotic thought disorder' (NPTD). Speech patterns of subjects with somatization disorder and/or ASPD were compared with those of controls. Blind raters assessed audiotaped samples of speech obtained through open-ended interviews for instances of elements of NPTD. Women with somatization or ASPD had significantly more NPTD speech responses than controls, and women with both disorders showed the greatest amount. Antisocial men did not demonstrate more NPTD than controls, nor was somatization in men associated with NPTD. Clinical attention to speech patterns in patients may help alert clinicians to these disorders in women and serve as indicators for screening for these disorders. More study is needed to develop psychometric properties of the instruments on larger samples, and to identify speech indicators of personality disorder in men. It is likely that other personality disorders, e.g., borderline personality disorder, can be identified through speech patterns, and they deserve study with these methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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