Objective: The primary aim of the study was to examine automated linguistic analysis of open-ended problem (PQ) and life-effects (LEQ) questionnaires to understand the psychological effects of tinnitus.
Design: The study used a cross-sectional design. Participants completed online questionnaires which included demographic questions, several standardized patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), and two open-ended questions focusing on PQ and LEQ related to tinnitus. The response to open-ended questions were analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) software to identify frequency of text on various linguistic dimensions relevant to tinnitus.
Study Sample: 336 individuals with tinnitus.
Results: The study results point to two broad findings. First, although PQ and LEQ have some similarities with PROMs (e.g., the linguistic dimension negative emotions having a weak positive correlation with anxiety and depression), no correlation with number of dimensions suggest that the open-ended questions identify additional elements that are not captured in PROMs. Second, more linguistic dimensions from the PQ correlate with PROMs compared to LEQ suggesting that the current PROMs are problem oriented.
Conclusions: The study results support the idea that use of open-ended questions in addition to PROMs may help optimize the efforts in examining the effects of chronic conditions such as tinnitus.