Nonverbal markers of childhood trauma have been identified in the literature. Yet, the relationship between childhood trauma and the voice is still largely unexplored. We report preliminary findings from a study (N = 48) that investigated whether self-reported childhood trauma is related to acoustic measures on sustained phonation before and after childhood trauma recall. Childhood trauma and minimization/denial of trauma were measured using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Measures of voice (fundamental frequency, related to pitch, and perturbation, or “unsteadiness” in voice sustained phonation) were obtained using voice analysis software lingWAVES. Self-reported trait and state anxiety were also measured, using the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory. Results showed that voice fundamental frequency at baseline was related to self-reported minimization of childhood trauma. Childhood trauma and minimization of childhood trauma were significantly related to voice perturbation measures recorded after trauma recall, accounting for baseline voice measures and self-reported anxiety. These preliminary results indicate the importance of studying voice as a potential nonverbal marker of childhood trauma.
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Monti, E., D’Andrea, W., Freed, S. et al. Does Self-Reported Childhood Trauma Relate to Vocal Acoustic Measures? Preliminary Findings at Trauma Recall. J Nonverbal Behav (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-020-00355-x
- Childhood trauma
- Fundamental frequency