Quantitative patterns of metaphors in the description of trauma

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


Metaphors occur at a substantial rate in mental health communication and are believed to carry strong emotional content. Although previous studies have probed into the relationship between metaphors and many psychological disorders, the relationship between metaphor and trauma remains underexplored. This study reports metaphor usage profiles as associations between key theoretical variables and their relationships with the speakers’ overall degrees of trauma. 46 participants who had recently experienced the social unrest in Hong Kong in late 2019 were invited to semi-structured interviews and had their overall degrees of trauma assessed using the Stanford Acute Stress Reaction Questionnaire (SASRQ). 1634 metaphorical expressions were identified in the interviews and were coded in terms of VALENCE, CONVENTIONALITY, TARGET CATEGORIES, PERSPECTIVE, and trauma-related source and target themes. Using individual metaphors as units of analysis, a loglinear analysis and follow-up chi-square tests were conducted to examine the relationship between these variables, and a factor plot generated by Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) was used to assist results interpretation. Significant associations were found for VALENCE*TARGET CATEGORY and CONVENTIONALITY*TARGET CATEGORY (both ps
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
Event17th International Conference on Language and Social Psychology - PolyU, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 22 Jun 202225 Jun 2022


Conference17th International Conference on Language and Social Psychology
Abbreviated titleICLASP17
CityHong Kong
Internet address


  • metaphor
  • Trauma
  • quantitative analysis
  • discourse analysis


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