Psycholinguistic Markers of Autobiographical and Traumatic Memory


  • Larysa Zasiekina Anglia Ruskin University, UK
  • Shelia Kennison Oklahoma State University, USA
  • Serhii Zasiekin Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University, Ukraine
  • Khrystyna Khvorost Lutsk National Technical University, Ukraine



traumatic memory, autobiographical memory, PTSD, propositional structure, LIWC.


This study examines psycholinguistic structure of autobiographical and traumatic narratives representing positive emotional and stressful traumatic life events. The research applied the cross sectional, between subjects design utilizing the independent variables of external agent they, space and time and dependent variable of word number in traumatic narratives for multiple regression analysis. The approval letter to recruit the participants through SONA system in 2015–2016 academic year was obtained from Institutional Review Board of Oklahoma State University (USA). 64 undergraduates of nonclinical setting, females (n=37), males (n=27), mean age was 19.43 (SD=1.37) were recruited. PTSD-8: A Short PTSD Inventory assesses PTSD, the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) analyzes traumatic and autobiographical narratives in terms of linguistic units and psychological meaningful categories. The results indicate that there are significant differences between pronoun they as external agent of proposition and psychological categories of negative emotions and anxiety in traumatic and autobiographical narratives. The frequency of these categories is higher in traumatic narratives compared with autobiographical narratives. External agent they, category of time and space  taken together significantly contribute to word number in traumatic narrative. There is a negative correlation between focus on the past and word count, and positive correlation between social category and word count in traumatic narrative in nonclinical sample. To sum up, propositional structure of traumatic memory of individuals without PTSD is represented by external agent and context (place and time) taken together. Considering time as a significant negative predictor of creating traumatic narrative, temporal processing without overestimation of time is an important factor of avoiding PTSD. The principal theoretical implication of this study is that traumatic memory might be examined through psycholinguistic markers represented by propositional structures and psychological meaningful categories of traumatic narratives in individuals from nonclinical and clinical settings.


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Author Biographies

Larysa Zasiekina, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

Shelia Kennison, Oklahoma State University, USA

Serhii Zasiekin, Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University, Ukraine

Khrystyna Khvorost, Lutsk National Technical University, Ukraine




How to Cite

Zasiekina, L., Kennison, S., Zasiekin, S., & Khvorost, K. (2019). Psycholinguistic Markers of Autobiographical and Traumatic Memory. East European Journal of Psycholinguistics, 6(2), 119–133.



Vol 6 No 2 (2019)

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