When I am sixty-four. . . evaluating language markers of well-being in healthy aging narratives

Tabea Meier, Matthias R. Mehl, Mike Martin, Andrea B. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Natural language use is a promising candidate for the development of innovative measures of well-being to complement self-report measures. The type of words individuals use can reveal important psychological processes that underlie well-being across the lifespan. In this preregistered, cross-sectional study, we propose a conceptual model of language markers of well-being and use written narratives about healthy aging (N = 701) and computerized text analysis (LIWC) to empirically validate the model. As hypothesized, we identified a model with three groups of language markers (reflecting affective, evaluative, and social processes). Initial validation with established self-report scales (N = 30 subscales) showed that these language markers reliably predict core components of well-being and underlying processes. Our results support the concurrent validity of the conceptual language model and allude to the added benefits of language-based measures, which are thought to reflect less conscious processes of well-being. Future research is needed to continue validating language markers of well-being across the lifespan in a theoretically informed and contextualized way, which will lay the foundation for inferring people’s well-being from their natural language use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0302103
JournalPloS one
Volume19
Issue number4 April
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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