The dysphonic voice heard by me, you and it: differential associations with personality and psychological distress

I J Deary, J A Wilson, P N Carding, K Mackenzie

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Voice production is subject to and indicative of psychological status. The precise relationships of voice disorders and psychological variables remain unclear. We compared the correlations of self-reported and more objective measures of voice quality in dysphonic patients with personality, coping, affect and somatization. Two hundred and four subjects participating in a randomized, controlled trial of speech therapy underwent self-report, observer rating and computer acoustic analysis of voice quality. These three indices of voice quality were compared with regard to their correlations with individual differences in neuroticism, alexithymia, negative emotion coping, anxiety, depression, neurotic symptoms, medically unexplained symptoms and quality of life. Significant correlations were observed between self-reported voice problems and all of the personality/coping and clinical psychological distress measures. People who reported more voice problems had: higher neuroticism and alexithymia; a tendency to use emotion-oriented coping; more psychological distress; poorer quality of life; and more past medically unexplained symptoms. Expert voice rating correlated weakly with neurotic disturbance, quality of life and previous medically unexplained symptoms. Objective voice assessment (amplitude perturbation) showed no significant associations with any psychological measure. The strongest associations of psychological variables and voice measures are with self-report measures. This suggests that it is in part the patients' perception of their own voice quality which accounts for the association of voice production and psychological factors in subjects presenting to voice clinics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-378
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Otolaryngology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


  • dysphonia
  • voice
  • personality
  • alexithymia
  • anxiety
  • depression

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