Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Psychology (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

William Chaplin

Second Advisor

Raymond DiGiuseppe

Third Advisor

Dana Chesney


Previous research suggests that the ability to describe one’s own emotions significantly impacts their overall emotional adjustment. The current study aimed to determine whether the relation between language and emotional adjustment extends beyond emotion vocabulary, to general vocabulary. Participants (n = 181) were administered measures of emotion vocabulary, general vocabulary, and emotional maladjustment. Results indicated that a general vocabulary measure cannot replace an emotional maladjustment measure but may serve as a proxy for emotion vocabulary in predicting mental health outcomes. Statistical analyses revealed that general and emotion vocabulary constructs are most closely related to mental health outcomes in the specific realms of interpersonal relations, social roles, and acute emotional distress. Findings have important implications for the school setting in regard to early detection of mental health issues, maximizing resources in low socioeconomic school districts, and developing preventative mental health strategies.

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Psychology Commons