Unresolved Anger and Sadness: Identifying Vocal Acoustical Correlates

Daniel Rochman*, Gary M. Diamond, Ofer Amir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors conducted 2 studies to identify the vocal acoustical correlates of unresolved anger and sadness among women reporting unresolved anger toward an attachment figure. In Study 1, participants (N = 17) were induced to experience and express anger then sadness or sadness then anger. In Study 2, a 2nd group of participants (N = 22) underwent a relationship-oriented, emotion-focused analogue therapy session. Results from both studies showed that, relative to emotionally neutral speech, anger evoked an increase in articulation rate and in mean fundamental frequency (F0) and F0-range, whereas sadness evoked an increase in F0-perturbation. Both F0 and F0-range were larger for anger than for sadness. In addition, results from the mood-induction-procedure study revealed 2 Emotion × Order interactions. Whereas variations in amplitude range suggested that anger evoked less physiological activation when induced after sadness, variations in F0-perturbation suggested that sadness evoked more physiological activation when induced after anger. These findings illustrate the feasibility of using acoustical measures to identify clients' personally and clinically meaningful emotional experiences, and shifts between such emotional experiences, in the context of psychotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-517
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • acoustical analysis
  • anger
  • attachment
  • psychotherapy
  • sadness


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