Detecting Well-Being via Computerized Content Analysis of Brief Diary Entries
Psychological Assessment, 25, 1069-1078.
36 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2013
Two studies evaluated the correspondence between self-reported well-being and codings of emotion and life-content by the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC; Pennebaker, Booth, & Francis, 2011). Open-ended diary responses were collected from 206 participants daily for three weeks (Study 1) and 139 participants twice a week for eight weeks (Study 2). LIWC negative emotion consistently correlated with self-reported negative emotion. LIWC positive emotion correlated with self-reported positive emotion in Study 1 but not Study 2. No correlations were observed with global life satisfaction. Using a co-occurrence coding method to combine LIWC emotion codings with life-content codings, we estimated the frequency of positive and negative events in six life domains (family, friends, academics, health, leisure, and money). Domain-specific event frequencies predicted self-reported satisfaction in all domains in Study 1 but not consistently in Study 2. We suggest that the correspondence between LIWC codings and self-reported well-being is affected by the number of writing samples collected per day as well as the target period (e.g., past day vs. past week) assessed by the self-report measure. Extensions and possible implications for the analyses of similar types of open-ended data (e.g., social media messages) are discussed.
Keywords: well-being, emotion, satisfaction, content analysis, linguistic analysis
JEL Classification: I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation