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December 1969

Application of Verbal Behavior Analysis to the Study of Psychological Defense Mechanisms: V. Speech Pattern Associated With Overeating

Author Affiliations

Baltimore; Philadelphia
From the Psychiatric Institute, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore (Dr. Weintraub), and Temple University, Health Sciences Center, Philadelphia (Dr. Aronson).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(6):739-744. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740240099012

THIS paper is one of a series reporting upon studies designed to relate speech characteristics to clinically relevant behavior. In 1963 we published a method of verbal behavior analysis based upon psychoanalytic ego psychology and learning theory.1 Relying primarily upon cues derived from psychoanalytic and psychodiagnostic practice, we isolated a number of speech variables which could be objectively scored with adequate interjudge reliability; appeared to be related to psychological defensive or adjustive operations; were used to significantly different degrees by different individuals; and were, wherever possible, dependent upon formal characteristics of speech.

In recent published reports we demonstrated that speech samples of groups of impulsive, delusional, and depressed psychiatric inpatients differed significantly from that of normal subjects along a number of scorable dimensions.2-4 Our findings were consistent with patterns of psychological defense mechanisms attributed to those categories of

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