Spitzer’s Resignation Remarks: Hints of depression and need for achievement
March 13, 2008
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s 376 word resignation speech was linguistically simple and and personal. Overall, 10.6% of his words were 1st person singular (I, me, my) which puts him in the depression range. Although on the borderline of depression, he used a high number of positive emotion words (4.8%) and relatively few negative emotion words (1.6%) — almost all of which were part of our sadness/depression category (1.3%).
He clearly is someone with a very high need for achievement (4.0% of he words are from this category — almost a record). This dimension of his personality can be seen in his phrases such as “my private failings with my wife…” “…I tried to stand for…” “I go forward with the belief…” “…which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity…”
As a side note, many people in the midst of a scandal or emotional upheavals avoid 1st person singular, as in “mistakes were made.” This is particularly true in the first days after it has become public.