Change: Talk in German Youth Language


Motivational Interviewing
German language


How to Cite

THEOHAROVA, S., & WARSCHBURGER, P. (2018). Change: Talk in German Youth Language. Dev Sanskriti Interdisciplinary International Journal, 12, 01–14.


Commitment and change-talk are two of the central constructs in behavioral theory, which is intended to lead to change in behavior. Not only in Motivational Interviewing it is crucial that the therapist recognizes his client's content of change-talk and state of commitment. Depending on this language's strength and the way it is used, change-talk often reveals subliminal signs for ambivalence which is important in therapy. Up to now, it still lacks a concrete link to language itself: which expressions concerning motivated behavior and the motivation to go for action are used in everyday life? Do the expressions differ in age, gender and wealth of people? In this study, commitment in German youth language was examined. 102 adolescents and young adults (12-21 years old) were asked how often they use 129 different change-talk expressions in everyday life. Of the utterances, 66 revealed to be 'never' to 'rare' used by more than 50 % of the participants, which excluded them from further analyses. All expressions where categorized into the DARN-C system (Desire, Ability, Reason, Need or Commitment) plus Readiness. The final variable set including 63 final expressions, revealed gender-specific differences and influence of psychological problems, such as depression. This study enriches research with a new item set, integrating information about average usage frequency of German change-talk expressions among adolescents. Furthermore, a specific linguistic field, crucial for counseling and therapy is now been categorized more detailed in semantic meaning. This study helps to understand adolescent language concerning change and commitment. It provides a basic tool for future research and practice dealing with the therapy of psychological problems.


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