Does Self-Reported Childhood Trauma Relate to Vocal Acoustic Measures? Preliminary Findings at Trauma Recall

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Aronson, A. E. (1980). Clinical voice disorders, an interdisciplinary approach. New York: B.C. Decker.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Askenfelt, A. G., & Hammarberg, B. (1986). Speech waveform perturbation analysis: A perceptual-acoustical comparison of seven measures. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 29(1), 50–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Austin, D. (2008). The theory and practice of vocal psychotherapy: Songs of the self. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Baken, R. J., & Orlikoff, R. F. (2000). Clinical measurement of speech and voice. Boston: Cengage Learning.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bernstein, D., & Fink, L. (1998). Manual for the childhood trauma questionnaire. New York, NY: The Psychological Corporation.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bernstein, D. P., Stein, J. A., Newcomb, M. D., Walker, E., Pogge, D., Ahluvalia, T., ... & Zule, W. (2003). Development and validation of a brief screening version of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27(2), 169–190.

  7. Bevans, K., Cerbone, A., & Overstreet, S. (2008). Relations between recurrent trauma exposure and recent life stress and salivary cortisol among children. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 257–272.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. Bhuta, T., Patrick, L., & Garnett, J. D. (2004). Perceptual evaluation of voice quality and its correlation with acoustic measurements. Journal of Voice, 18(3), 299–304.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. Bonanno, G. A., Keltner, D., Noll, J. G., Putnam, F. W., Trickett, P. K., LeJeune, J., & Anderson, C. (2002). When the face reveals what words do not: Facial expressions of emotion, smiling, and the willingness to disclose childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(1), 94–110. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.83.1.94.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. Booth, R. W., Sharma, D., & Leader, T. I. (2016). The age of anxiety? It depends where you look: Changes in STAI trait anxiety, 1970–2010. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51(2), 193–202.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  11. Brodnitz, F. S. (1988). Keep your voice healthy a guide to the intelligent use and care of the speaking and singing voice. Boston: College.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Bunevicius, A., Staniute, M., Brozaitiene, J., Pop, V. J., Neverauskas, J., & Bunevicius, R. (2013). Screening for anxiety disorders in patients with coronary artery disease. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 11(1), 37.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chen, C. (2002). Robust regression and outlier detection with the ROBUSTREG procedure. In Proceedings of the 27th annual SAS users group international conference, Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.

  14. Church, C., Andreassen, O. A., Lorentzen, S., Melle, I., & Aas, M. (2017). Childhood trauma and minimization/denial in people with and without a severe mental disorder. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1276.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Cicchetti, F., & Rogosch, A. (2007). Personality, adrenal steroid hormones, and resilience in maltreated children: A multilevel perspective. Development and Psychopathology, 19(3), 787–809.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Courvoisier, D. S., & Renaud, O. (2010). Robust analysis of the central tendency, simple and multiple regression and ANOVA: A step by step tutorial. International Journal of Psychological Research, 3(1), 78–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Crawford, J., Cayley, C., Lovibond, P. F., Wilson, P. H., & Hartley, C. (2011). Percentile norms and accompanying interval estimates from an Australian general adult population sample for self-report mood scales (BAI, BDI, CRSD, CES-D, DASS, DASS-21, STAI-X, STAI-Y, SRDS, and SRAS). Australian Psychologist, 46(1), 3–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Cromer, L. D., Stevens, C., DePrince, A. P., & Pears, K. (2006). The relationship between executive attention and dissociation in children. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 7(4), 135–153.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  19. D’Andrea, W., Ford, J., Stolbach, B., Spinazzola, J., & van der Kolk, B. A. (2012). Understanding interpersonal trauma in children: why we need a developmentally appropriate trauma diagnosis. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(2), 187–200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Dale, L. P., Carroll, L. E., Galen, G., Hayes, J. A., Webb, K. W., & Porges, S. W. (2009). Abuse history is related to autonomic regulation to mild exercise and psychological wellbeing. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 34(4), 299–308.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  21. D’Andrea, W., Pole, N., DePierro, J., Freed, S., & Wallace, D. B. (2013). Heterogeneity of defensive responses after exposure to trauma: Blunted autonomic reactivity in response to startling sounds. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 90(1), 80–89.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  22. De Bellis, M. D., & Zisk, A. (2014). The biological effects of childhood trauma. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 23(2), 185–222.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Demaree, H. A., & Everhart, D. E. (2004). Healthy high-hostiles: Reduced parasympathetic activity and decreased sympathovagal flexibility during negative emotional processing. Personality and Individual Differences, 36(2), 457–469.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Dietrich, M., & Verdolini Abbott, K. (2008). Psychobiological framework of stress and voice. In K. Izdebski (Ed.) Emotions in the human voice: Foundations (pp. 159–178). San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Fairbanks, G. (1960). The rainbow passage. Voice and articulation drillbook, 2nd edn. New York, NY: Harper and Brothers.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Ford, J. D., Connor, D. F., & Hawke, J. (2009). Complex trauma among psychiatrically impaired children: A cross-sectional, chartreview study. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 70, 1155–1163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Freed, S., & D’Andrea, W. (2015). Autonomic arousal and emotion in victims of interpersonal violence: Shame proneness but not anxiety predicts vagal tone. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 16(4), 367–383.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Gerdner, A., & Allgulander, C. (2009). Psychometric properties of the swedish version of the childhood trauma Questionnaire—Short form (CTQ-SF). Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 63(2), 160–170.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  29. Gerratt, B. R., Kreiman, J., & Garellek, M. (2016). Comparing measures of voice quality from sustained phonation and continuous speech. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59(5), 994–1001.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Giddens, C. L., Barron, K. W., Byrd-Craven, J., Clark, K. F., & Winter, A. S. (2013). Vocal indices of stress: A review. Journal of Voice, 27(3), 390–421.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  31. Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 271–299.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Helou, L. B., Wang, W., Ashmore, R. C., Rosen, C. A., & Abbott, K. V. (2013). Intrinsic laryngeal muscle activity in response to autonomic nervous system activation. The Laryngoscope, 123(11), 2756–2765.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  33. Herzog, S., D’Andrea, W., & DePierro, J. (2019). Zoning out: automatic and conscious attention biases are differentially related to dissociative and post-traumatic symptoms. Psychiatry Research, 272, 304–310.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  34. Hovens, J. G., Giltay, E. J., Wiersma, J. E., Spinhoven, P., Penninx, B. W., & Zitman, F. G. (2012). Impact of childhood life events and trauma on the course of depressive and anxiety disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 126(3), 198–207.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  35. Jennings, J. R. (1987). Editorial policy on analyses of variance with repeated measures. Psychophysiology, 24(4), 474–475.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Katon, W., Sullivan, M., & Walker, E. (2001). Medical symptoms without identified pathology: Relationship to psychiatric disorders, childhood and adult trauma, and personality traits. Annals of Internal Medicine, 134(9_Part_2), 917–925.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Katz, C., Hershkowitz, I., Malloy, L. C., Lamb, M. E., Atabaki, A., & Spindler, S. (2012). Non-verbal behavior of children who disclose or do not disclose child abuse in investigative interviews. Child Abuse & Neglect, 36(1), 12–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Kitajima, K., & Gould, W. J. (1976). Vocal shimmer in sustained phonation of normal and pathologic voice. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 85(3), 377–381.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Knapp, M. L., Hall, J. A., & Horgan, T. G. (2013). Nonverbal communication in human interaction. Boston: Cengage Learning.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Kreiman, J., & Sidtis, D. (2011). Foundations of voice studies: An interdisciplinary approach to voice production and perception. Chichester: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Lanius, U. F., Paulsen, S. L., & Corrigan, F. M. (2014). Neurobiology and treatment of traumatic dissociation: Towards an embodied self. New York, NY: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  42. MacDonald, K., Thomas, M. L., MacDonald, T. M., & Sciolla, A. F. (2015). A perfect childhood? Clinical correlates of minimization and denial on the childhood trauma questionnaire. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(6), 988–1009.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  43. MacDonald, K., Thomas, M. L., Sciolla, A. F., Schneider, B., Pappas, K., Bleijenberg, G., & Dannlowski, U. (2016). Minimization of childhood maltreatment is common and consequential: Results from a large, multinational sample using the childhood trauma questionnaire. PLoS ONE, 11(1), e0146058.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Marmar, C. R., Brown, A. D., Qian, M., Laska, E., Siegel, C., Li, M., & Knoth, B. (2019). Speech-based markers for posttraumatic stress disorder in US veterans. Depression and Anxiety, 36 (7), 607–616. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22890.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Marteau, T. M., & Bekker, H. (1992). The development of a six-item short-form of the state scale of the Spielberger State—Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 31(3), 301–306.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Montello, Louise. (2002). Essential musical intelligence. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Monti, E. (2020). Trauma in voice. In D. C. Rosen, J. B. Sataloff, & R. T. Sataloff (Eds.), Psychology of voice disorders (2nd ed., pp. 221–240). San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Monti, E., Kidd, D. C., Carroll, L. M., & Castano, E. (2017). What’s in a singer’s voice: The effect of attachment, emotions and trauma. Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology, 42(2), 62–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Nazarov, A., Frewen, P., Oremus, C., Schellenberg, E. G., McKinnon, M. C., & Lanius, R. (2015). Comprehension of affective prosody in women with post-traumatic stress disorder related to childhood abuse. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 131(5), 342–349.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  50. Park, G., & Thayer, J. F. (2014). From the heart to the mind: Cardiac vagal tone modulates top-down and bottom-up visual perception and attention to emotional stimuli. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 278.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Pole, N. (2007). The psychophysiology of posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 133(5), 725–746.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  52. Pole, N., Neylan, T. C., Otte, C., Metzler, T. J., Best, S. R., Henn-Haase, C., & Marmar, C. R. (2007). Associations between childhood trauma and emotion-modulated psychophysiological responses to startling sounds: A study of police cadets. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116(2), 352.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  53. Porges, S. W. (2011). The polyvagal theory: Neurophysiological foundations of emotions, attachment, communication, and self-regulation (Norton series on interpersonal neurobiology). New York: WW Norton & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Rodriguez, L. M., DiBello, A. M., Wickham, R., Hadden, B. W., Baker, Z. G., & Øverup, C. S. (2018). A self-determination theory approach to problematic drinking and intimate partner violence. Motivation and Emotion, 42(2), 225–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Rosen, D. C., Sataloff, J. B., & Sataloff, R. T. (2020). Psychology of voice disorders (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Russell, A., Penny, L., & Pemberton, C. (1995). Speaking fundamental frequency changes over time in women: A longitudinal study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 38(1), 101–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Sack, M., Hopper, J. W., & Lamprecht, F. (2004). Low respiratory sinus arrhythmia and prolonged psychophysiological arousal in posttraumatic stress disorder: Heart rate dynamics and individual differences in arousal regulation. Biological Psychiatry, 55(3), 284–290.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  58. Saggio, G., & Costantini, G. (2020). Worldwide healthy adult voice baseline parameters: A comprehensive review. Journal of Voice, S0892-1997.

  59. Sataloff, R. T., Gullane, P. J., & Goldstein, D. P. (2015). Sataloff’s comprehensive textbook of otolaryngology: Head & neck surgery (Vol. 5). New Delhi: JP Medical Ltd.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Scher, C. D., Forde, D. R., McQuaid, J. R., & Stein, M. B. (2004). Prevalence and demographic correlates of childhood maltreatment in an adult community sample. Child Abuse & Neglect, 28(2), 167–180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Scher, C. D., Stein, M. B., Asmundson, G. J., McCreary, D. R., & Forde, D. R. (2001). The childhood trauma questionnaire in a community sample: Psychometric properties and normative data. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 14(4), 843–857.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  62. Scherer, K. R. (2003). Vocal communication of emotion: A review of research paradigms. Speech Communication, 40(1), 227–256.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Schmidt, M. R., Narayan, A. J., Atzl, V. M., Rivera, L. M., & Lieberman, A. F. (2020). Childhood maltreatment on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Scale versus the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) in a perinatal sample. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 29(1), 38–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Shih, J. H., Eberhart, N. K., Hammen, C. L., & Brennan, P. A. (2006). Differential exposure and reactivity to interpersonal stress predict sex differences in adolescent depression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35(1), 103–115.

    PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  65. Solomon, M., McCauley, J. B., Iosif, A., Carter, C. S., & Ragland, J. D. (2016). Cognitive control and episodic memory in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Neuropsychologia, 89, 31–41.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Spielberger, C. D. (1983). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory: STAI (Form Y). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Spielberger, C. D. (1989). State-Trait Anxiety Inventory: A comprehensive bibliography. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Spielberger, C. D. (2010). State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Chichester: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Spielberger, C., Gorsuch, R., & Lushene, R. (1970). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologist Press.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Spielman, J., Starr, A.C., Popolo, P.J., Hunter, E.J. (2007) Recommendations for the creation of a voice acoustics laboratory. NCVS online technical memo no. 7, version 1.4.

  71. van der Kolk, B. A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. London: Penguin Books.

    Google Scholar 

  72. van Mersbergen, M., & Delany, M. (2014). Vocal responses to emotional picture viewing. Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology, 39(3), 99–107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. van Mersbergen, M., Lyons, P., & Riegler, D. (2017). Vocal responses in heighted states of arousal. Journal of Voice, 31(1), 127-e13.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elisa Monti.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 440 kb)

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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

Download citation

Keywords

  • Childhood trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Voice
  • Fundamental frequency
  • Perturbation