De stem als diagnostisch instrument: stemanalyse bij kinderen van 6-12 jaar met ADHD
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Summary Characteristics in children’s voices might be stable correlates of psychopathology. This relation, between voice characteristics and psychopathology, is investigated here for children with ADHD and social phobia. The characteristics of interest are voice volume, speech rate, pitch and timbre (usage of tones in voice). Timbre is a new line of research, so there is no empirical support for its correlation with psychopathology. A total of 57 children participated: 16 with social phobia (8 boys), 12 with ADHD (9 boys), and 29 children without psychological problems (16 boys), who served as a control group, matched on age and sex. Social-emotional questionnaires, as well as a behavioural checklist and a Big Five list were filled in on all the children. Further diagnostic tests (ADIS and AVL) were completed on the children in the clinical groups. Four recordings per child are made, while they are reading out loud a positive story, a negative story, telling a positive anecdote and telling a negative anecdote. Results show that children with ADHD speak louder, on average and at max, faster and use the tone A# more in their speech. Severity of hyperactivity correlates significantly with the use of D# and E in a voice. Personality, specifically neuroticism, mediates the relation between ADHD and average loudness. Children with social phobia also speak louder, on average and at max, faster, have a higher pitch and use the tone A# more in their speech. Severity of anxiety correlates negatively with maximum loudness and speech rate. No mediator effects are found for the relation between social phobia and voice characteristics. Since many characteristics appear to be related to both ADHD and social phobia, the question raises whether these characteristics are really related to the specific psychopathologies or rather to something more general, like egostrenght. The one finding that is most stable and remains standing is the higher pitch in the voices of children with social phobia. For ADHD, no specific, condition independent correlates are found in this investigation.