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Investigating Past Trauma in Laryngoresponders Versus Non-Laryngoresponders: Piloting New Methods in an Exploratory Study

      Summary

      Objectives/Hypothesis

      This exploratory pilot study aimed to probe the relationship between past experiences of trauma in people who self-identify as “laryngoresponders” compared to those who do not. It also explored the communicative context of past traumatic events in laryngoresponders versus non-laryngoresponders.

      Study Design

      Prospective, within-subjects experimental design.

      Methods

      29 vocally healthy cisgender women (ages 19 to 56) completed a battery of validated self-report measures relating to their past traumatic experiences. Participants also completed two original self-report measures designed to provide insight about (1) where stress tends to manifest in their body and (2) communicative settings of participants’ past trauma.

      Results

      Six participants (21%) self-identified a predictable laryngeal and/or vocal response to acute stress and thus comprise the laryngoresponders group. Laryngoresponders exhibited worse scores on 75% of all trauma-related variables compared to non-laryngoresponders, and Emotional Neglect was disproportionately represented in laryngoresponders. Participants with a reported history of childhood Emotional Neglect (83% of laryngoresponders, 35% of nonlaryngoresponders) reported quantitatively “less ideal” communication experiences in the context of past traumatic experiences.

      Conclusions

      Other investigators identify the larynx as a “vulnerable body pathway” for some women. This pilot study of adult women without voice complaints revealed several commonalities amongst self-reported laryngoresponders, and compels further exploration of the voice-trauma relationship.

      Key words

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