Suicidal traits in Marilyn Monroe’s Fragments: An LIWC analysis
Fernandez-Cabana, M., Garcia-Caballero, A., Alves-Perez, M.T., Garcia-Garcia, M.J., & Mateos, R.
Background: Linguistic inquiry and word count (LIWC), a computerized method for text analysis, is often used to examine suicide writings in order to characterize the quantitative linguistic features of suicidal texts. Aims: To analyze texts compiled in Marilyn Monroe's Fragments using LIWC, in order to explore the use of different linguistic categories in her narrative over the years. Method: Selected texts were grouped into four periods of similar word count and processed with LIWC. Spearman's rank correlation was used to assess changes in language use across the documents over time. The Kruskal-Wallis test was applied to compare means between periods and for each of the 80 LIWC output scores. Results: Significant differences (p < .05) were found in 11 categories, the most relevant being a progressive decrease in the use of negative emotion words, a reduction in the use of long words in the third period, and an increase in the proportion of personal pronouns used as Monroe approached the time of her death. Conclusions: The consistently elevated usage of first-person personal singular pronouns and the consistently diminished usage of first-person personal plural pronouns are in line with previous studies linking this pattern with a low level of social integration, which has been related to suicide according to different theories.