Article

Expressive Writing in Psychological Science

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

The 1997 Psychological Science paper “Writing About Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process” summarized the results of several expressive writing studies. Since the publication of the first expressive writing study in 1986, a number of discoveries had emerged that had both theoretical and clinical implications. The scientific and personal backstories of the research are discussed. Finally, several possible reasons are advanced to explain why this particular paper has been cited as much as it has.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... Relaxation methods, e.g., qigong or Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) by Jacobson (1938), showed to be beneficial regarding perceived stress, relaxation, self-acceptance and anxiety in students (Sancier and Holman, 2004;Chrisman et al., 2009;Dolbier and Rush, 2012;Hubbard and Blyler, 2016). Additionally, pure cognitive interventions, based on stress diaries or on expressive writing, could also be a promising approach (Baikie et al., 2012;Pennebaker, 2018). These cognitive interventions have shown robust effects in previous studies in clinical groups (Krpan et al., 2013). ...
... It comprised a positive expressive writing task, developed by the corresponding author and used in previous studies (e.g., Herbert et al., 2019). The instructions of the positive expressive writing task were adapted from the original expressive writing protocol, provided by Pennebaker and colleagues (e.g., Pennebaker, 2018). Accordingly, participants were asked to write about own feelings without focusing on spelling or grammar. ...
... Although mental health did not increase due to the interventions in this study, other studies point toward positive effects of both kind of interventions on mood and perceived stress (e.g., Dolbier and Rush, 2012;Pennebaker, 2018;Kramer, 2020). With regard to perceived stress, it could be presumed, that an increase would have taken place from T0 to T3, because of T3 having been during examination period at the end of term. ...
Article
Full-text available
Physical inactivity, sedentary behavior and mental ill health, due to high levels of perceived stress or self-reported depressive symptoms, are highly prevalent among university students. There are concerns that these behaviors and mental symptoms have significantly increased during the current Covid-19 pandemic, partly because academic life has changed considerably from face-to-face communication to e-learning and studying at home. Self-regulation and physical activity are hard to maintain during pandemic lockdowns. Short activity breaks could be helpful to avoid physical inactivity and sustain mental health. The breaks should comprise short and easy-implementable physical activity exercises that can be integrated into the learning context. Moreover, cognitive interventions, such as writing about positive events and feelings might help as coping strategy for self-regulation during study breaks. This study investigated and compared the effects of a physical activity intervention and a cognitive intervention (positive expressive writing) on mental health among university students. Both interventions are particularly suitable for use at home. N = 20 university students, studying in Germany, were assigned to a physical activity group or a cognitive intervention group. The physical activity intervention consisted of a mix of physical exercises including endurance exercises, muscular strength, relaxation, and ballroom dance movements. The interventions were carried out guided, once a week, for 5–10 mins at the beginning of classes. The effects of group × time showed no significant interaction on self-reported perceived stress, mood, quality of life (QoL) assessed online and compared at the beginning of the term before the intervention (T0) and at the end of the term after the intervention (T3). However, the physical activity group reported a similar physical activity level per day over time, while the cognitive intervention group showed a decrease in physical activity from T0 to T3. Low-dose, short physical activity interventions as well as cognitive interventions consisting of positive expressive writing could buffer university students' perceived stress, mood, and QoL across the term. Moreover, both interventions seem to be promising in buffering the negative side effects of stress during the Covid-19 pandemic.
... Can they cope with it merely by not thinking about the negative events they went through? There is a number of psychological therapies that help people deal with those events, such as cognitive-behavior therapy (Beck, 2016;Dobson & Dozois, 2019), expressive writing (Pennebaker, 2018;Pennebaker & Chung, 2011), or mindfulnessbased stress reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 2013;Kelly & Garland, 2016). These approaches have been applied to reduce the negative impact of negative or traumatic experiences. ...
... This result is consistent with our hypotheses. As a rule, the feeling of control of a patient in dealing with aversive or traumatic experiences is emphasized in different approaches for a successful therapy, such as cognitive-behavior therapy (Beck, 2016; see Dobson & Dozois, 2019, for a recent overview of the therapies) or expressive writing (Pennebaker, 2018;Pennebaker & Chung, 2011). By asking our participants to engage in ME only when feeling relaxed, we have an overlap with the mindfulness technique for dealing with negative experiences, which is aimed to generate a global feeling of relaxation and stress reduction by focusing attention on the present moment (Kabat-Zinn, 2013; Kelly & Garland, 2016). ...
Article
We introduce multidimensional embodiment (ME), a technique for reducing the negativity of unpleasant memories. ME originated in clinical settings. We ran experiments in Mexico and Germany. Participants imagined that a severe aversive episode they experienced had putative physical dimensions and rated their intensity for 8 consecutive days. We found: (a) reductions in reported negativity of the episode across sessions; (b) greater reductions with more over fewer dimensions; and (c) long-term effects in a follow-up session (Experiment 1). The second experiment replicated and extended these findings. It comprised a notreatment control group; measures of controllability, which increased across sessions and groups; and of blood pressure, whose systolic component decreased for the six-dimension group. Between-country differences showed ratings decreasing comparably, with higher scores in Mexico. We interpret these results according to both personality systems interaction (PSI) theory and the alternative retrieval pathways (ARP) hypothesis: As more retrieval pathways produce better memory, activating more dimensions yields greater reductions in unpleasantness.
... On the other hand, trauma requires effortful coping too so it that it does not linger, fester, or become habitual-the ABC triad in a negative state, but this is a reactive process. Transcendence requires the ABC triad to be put into a positive state, a proactive process promoting positive emotions, behaviors, and cognitions [11,20,25]. Next, we discuss a case study of how such a transcendence approach appears to have been successfully implemented. ...
... levels of perceived self-efficacy, self-esteem, self-awareness, selfregulation, can all factor in how a person deals with trauma and the road to transcendence [28]. The need for consistency, or to be in a homeostatic state, can often be a rebounding experience for many people [25], following a natural process of stages of improvement [16,19]. At other times, the effects of trauma can linger, as is the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or even chronic physical pain. ...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the process by which individuals can transcend traumatic events, given the increased frequency of cataclysmic events such as global pandemics, food/shelter insecurity, risks to personal safety, and economic inequality duress. Trauma-informed approaches have begun to emerge but empirical evidence, methodological considerations, and theory have been scarce. In this review we (a) assess and quantify trauma outcome measures on qualitative and quantitative dimensions; (b) examine current research approaches’ use of the ABC Triad in social psychology, which considers affect (A), behaviors (B), cognitions (C), and perceptions (influenced by person/situation dynamics); (c) elaborate on a transcendence theory of trauma, showing how the theory meets scientific rigor of being predictive, testable, and falsifiable (Popper, 1949). Our analyses show that a value-added approach for trauma outcome measures is required in qualitative research, with quantitative and higher precision measures possible in pre/post designs, random assignment group comparisons, and comparable standards criterion such as norming. The transcendence trauma theory is assessed in a qualitative model fit approach using a case study, revealing good fit and showing that both descriptive and explanatory processes are needed to overcome trauma beyond recovery or a homeostatic state. Transcendence, it is shown, requires proactivity and oppositional interventions to the traditional coping processes of trauma. The multivariate nature of trauma is examined through person (dispositional) perceptions and situational influences, such as cultural orientation of self-focus (individualistic) and other-focus (collectivistic) support systems that can reduce the effects of trauma. Finally, we call for an increased effort by the scientific community, civic groups, and national governments to ameliorate the effects of trauma in vulnerable populations.
... Of the 38,739 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, 61.6% (28,863) occurred in 20-29-year-olds. Notably, these individuals are in emerging adulthood (EA), which has been acknowledged as a distinct life stage in post-industrialized societies, typically defined as occurring between adolescence and young adulthood (ages [18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25] [2]. Several characteristics and processes are salient within this age range that contextualize HIV-risk behavior and warrant consideration in intervention development. ...
... As such, while integrated interventions exist, not all GBM can access such intervention programming. Expressive writing-a therapeutic process involving, "writing about important personal experiences in an emotional way" [16] can lead to significant physical and mental health benefits without a trained provider [17][18][19] or even a physical location and may thus be a more scalable and flexible approach. ...
Article
Full-text available
This pilot randomized controlled trial evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of expressive writing to reduce HIV-related sexual risk taking and symptoms of drug dependence among emerging adult gay and bisexual men (EAGBM) through linguistic mechanisms involving use of words associated with cognitive processing (e.g., think, cause), positive emotion (e.g., love, nice), and negative emotion (e.g., hurt, shame). Between 2014 and 2015, EAGBM (n = 78; aged 18–29) completed a baseline survey and were randomized to complete three 15-min expressive writing or equivalent control-group writing sessions and follow-up assessments 2 months post-baseline. EAGBM in the expressive writing condition utilized significantly more positive emotion, negative emotion, and cognitive processing words. Path model results indicated the intervention condition resulted in significant reductions in symptoms of drug dependence and frequency of condomless anal sex (CAS) through paths mediated by positive emotion words, and significant increases in CAS through a path mediated by negative emotion words.
... Los reportes clínicos sobre problemas de salud en pacientes que no expresan sus experiencias traumáticas llevaron a la formulación de la técnica de escritura emocional (apertura emocional o autorrevelación emocional), la cual consiste en la escritura de experiencias traumáticas, molestas o altamente estresantes, en sesiones de 20 minutos, por tres o cuatro días consecutivos (Pennebaker & Beall, 1986). La expresión emocional en diferentes modalidades (oral, escrita, señada, etc.) induce al consultante a organizar en secuencias lógicas y coherentes los pensamientos y las emociones asociados a los eventos traumáticos, y así dar sentido a las experiencias (Pennebaker, 2011(Pennebaker, , 2018Pennebaker & Seagal, 1999). ...
... Por tanto, la reexperimentación emocional se puede considerar un tratamiento con evidencia moderada (d= .16) para condiciones específicas (Pennebaker, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Given the high prevalence of depressive symptoms in deaf people and the deficit in intervention processes, the purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of emotional disclosure using Colombian sign language in two deaf participants with mild depressive symptoms. A single-case AB experimental design was used. Pre and post-intervention variations in depressive symptoms were evaluated. Similarly, variations in linguistic style were analyzed. The results indicate that emotional disclosure decreased mild depressive symptoms in the two participants, reaching the rating of no symptoms at the end of the sessions and after one month of follow-up. According to the percentage of non-overlapping data and non-overlapping of all pairs indices, the treatment had a medium effect. In terms of linguistic style, the role of negative emotion words, positive emotions, causality, and the personal pronoun I as promoters of recovery is discussed. New research aimed at building evaluation and intervention models in the deaf community is proposed.
... Notably, in the current study, both groups were encouraged to write continuously and given multiple examples of what to do if they felt stuck, and both the treatment and control groups wrote on average approximately the same number of characters. There are no known expressive writing meta-analyses that explore differences in word count between the treatment and control groups (Pennebaker, 2017); however, in general, control participants tend to write less than treatment participants (Pennebaker, 2017). Niles et al. (2016) found that one of the mechanisms of change for writing interventions is the level of detail with which participants write. ...
... Notably, in the current study, both groups were encouraged to write continuously and given multiple examples of what to do if they felt stuck, and both the treatment and control groups wrote on average approximately the same number of characters. There are no known expressive writing meta-analyses that explore differences in word count between the treatment and control groups (Pennebaker, 2017); however, in general, control participants tend to write less than treatment participants (Pennebaker, 2017). Niles et al. (2016) found that one of the mechanisms of change for writing interventions is the level of detail with which participants write. ...
Article
Purpose Studies have found that writing with self-compassion about a stressful event helps promote mental health in college students and nonclinical populations. Using a randomized controlled trial, this study investigated whether a self-compassion writing intervention would lead to increases in self-compassion and proactive coping and reductions in mental health symptoms in a sample of individuals with mental illness. Method Individuals with mental disorders were recruited and randomly assigned to a treatment condition in which participants wrote with self-compassion or a control condition where participants wrote about how they spent their time. Outcome measures were administered at pretest, after the 3-day intervention, and 1 month later. Results Both the treatment and control groups showed significant improvements in self-compassion, proactive coping, mental health, and physical health. Discussion Overall, the results suggest both self-compassion writing and writing about how one spends one’s time may be beneficial for individuals with mental illness.
... The minimum age for participation in the research was 18 years. The total age of emotions (Halamová, 2018), these tasks were modified in the form of expressive writing paradigms (Pennebaker, 2017;Pennebaker & Beall, 1986). ...
... Na základe zistení z Terapie zameranej na emócie (Emotion Focused Therapy, EFT)(Greenberg & Watson, 2005) vyvinula Halamová intervenciu EFT-SCP. Intervencia obsahuje rôzne cvičenia na zlepšovanie sebasúcitu a sebaobrany a zároveň udáva úlohy na doma, ktoré používajú paradigmu expresívneho písania (emočné prežívanie v spojení s domácou úlohou)(Pennebaker, 2017). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The topic of violence against women providing sexual services on the streets is discussed very little in the context of Slovakia. There are a lot of prejudices among the public, so as professionals. One of them is that this woman can't be raped. On the contrary, this minority group of women experienced all types of violence whether in intimate or clients relationships. They are daily in risky situations. The study aimed to find out what strategies, private or public, women working in street sexbusiness used to prevent, reduce, and terminate violence. Nine qualitative interviews were conducted. The respondents were women - clients of a nongovernmental organization providing services for injecting drug users or people involved in street sexbusiness. Women talked more often about violence from clients than about violence in an intimate relationship. Besides physical assaults, they mentioned psychological violence mostly in an intimate relationship - threats, jealousy, and panic disorder as a consequence of psychological violence. Regarding strategies, they used safety planning most often. The common reaction to the violence at work was to succumb to the perpetrator. They rarely used public non�formal strategies, they didn ́t trust friends or relatives. They didn ́t form a peer (community) background. They used very few formal public strategies, most of them didn't trust the police, few gave the credit to the organization, which provided community services. Research reflects the social environment of women working in street sexbusiness regarding institutions, which are supposed to protect them against violence, and also empowers and supports them in talking about violence, which contributes to knowledge and principles of community psychology.
... The somewhat passive form of using written sources in bibliotherapy contrasts with the more active expressive writing. In this type of intervention, research summarized in systematic reviews and meta-analyses tends to report positive effects (Pennebaker, 2018). Recently, in a follow-up study of 17 years, expressive writing was even shown to predict survival in people living with HIV (Ironson et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Novels represent a corpus of data that offers innovative opportunities for research and theory in health psychology. This article discusses how adding ‘health humanities’ to health psychology opens up a potentially rich domain for research and clinical application. The concept of ‘health humanities’ is discussed and put into a context of related fields. The concepts of ‘illness perceptions’ and ‘models of patient–health care provider interaction’ are used as illustrations. Applications are given, focusing on patients and their caregivers, health care providers and society at large (bibliotherapy and expressive writing). Suggestions for further development of the area are included.
... As a common psychotherapy, expressive writing (EW) was proposed and developed by Pennebaker (2018) . It is an effective psychological intervention for people who have experienced a traumatic event ( Hirai et al., 2020 ;Ji et al., 2020 ;Rabiepoor et al., 2020 ). ...
Article
Objective : To explore the efficacy of an expressive writing intervention on promoting psychological well-being of women who have had a diagnosis of fetal abnormality. Design and setting : An open, randomized controlled trial with parallel group design was conducted at a tertiary hospital in China. 100 women were randomly assigned into either the expressive writing (EW) intervention group or the control group, and 80 women eventually took part in all the phases of the study. Psychological variables including post-traumatic growth (PTG), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and resilience were assessed at baseline, immediately after the intervention and 1-month follow-up. Participants : Women who have had a diagnosis of fetal abnormalities and decided to terminate pregnancies. Intervention : Women in the intervention group were asked to write three 15-min essays in regard to their experiences with the fetal abnormalities. Findings : The intervention group had significantly higher level of PTG (p =0.003) and lower level of PTSD symptoms (p=0.023) immediately after the intervention, as compared with the control group. In 1-month follow-up, intervention participants demonstrated significant improvement in PTG (p=0.014) but insignificant reduction for PTSD symptoms. No significant effects were observed in both groups in terms of changes over time in resilience. Key conclusions and implications for practice : EW is efficacious for improving women's PTG and easing their symptoms of PTSD to some extent. Medical staff should pay more attention to this population's psychological status. In the future, EW interventions need to be conducted in larger samples with more severe symptoms of PTSD to validate its effectiveness. The efficacy of longer and more frequent writing interventions should also be investigated.
... People often use narratives to explain and understand their own lives (34). Just as creative people have more distance (i.e., less semantic relatedness) between their thoughts (35), semantic progression in personal narratives may provide insight into the writer's personality or even how the act of writing impacts wellbeing (36). ...
Article
Full-text available
Narratives, and other forms of discourse, are powerful vehicles for informing, entertaining, and making sense of the world. But while everyday language often describes discourse as moving quickly or slowly, covering a lot of ground, or going in circles, little work has actually quantified such movements or examined whether they are beneficial. To fill this gap, we use several state-of-the-art natural language-processing and machine-learning techniques to represent texts as sequences of points in a latent, high-dimensional semantic space. We construct a simple set of measures to quantify features of this semantic path, apply them to thousands of texts from a variety of domains (i.e., movies, TV shows, and academic papers), and examine whether and how they are linked to success (e.g., the number of citations a paper receives). Our results highlight some important cross-domain differences and provide a general framework that can be applied to study many types of discourse. The findings shed light on why things become popular and how natural language processing can provide insight into cultural success.
... There has been compelling evidence of the broad benefits of expressive writing for stressed populations to facilitate the review of emotionally evocative experiences in relation to health and occupational functioning. 9 One mechanism may be the role documentation of stressful experience plays, but also the emotion-regulatory benefit of self-distancing from the evocative elements of experience through shifts in perspective. 10 In addition, positive emotional responses are broadly considered to be the cornerstone of well-being and happiness, and are consistently predictive of psychological health over time. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: The aim of this project was to test the efficacy of a brief and novel online ambulatory intervention aimed at supporting psychological health and well-being for medical personnel and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Interested participants, n=28, actively employed as medical personnel, support staff and emergency responders, in the Midwestern USA in May–June of 2020, provided informed consent and were randomised to complete either low-dose or high-dose intervention, one time daily for 1 week via smartphone application. Each daily intervention included expressive writing, adaptive emotion regulation activity and (one vs two) positive emotion-generation activities, lasting 3–6 min a day. Ratings of negative and positive emotion were provided before and after each activity daily. Analyses tested compliance, acceptability, as well as efficacy at increasing positive emotion and decreasing negative emotion with each use and across time. Results: The results indicated a 13% increase in positive emotion, t(25)=2.01, p=0.056; and decrease in negative emotion by 44%, t(25)=−4.00, p=0.001 across both doses. However, there was a clear advantage for individuals in the high-dose condition as daily boosts in positive emotion were significantly greater (an additional 9.4%) B=0.47, p=0.018. Overall, compliance was good. Acceptability ratings were good for those who completed the follow-up assessment. Conclusion: Front-line personnel, including medical staff and emergency responders, are experiencing unprecedented psychological stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. This investigation suggests both feasibility and efficacy for a brief, daily, ambulatory intervention which could provide essential psychological support to individuals at risk in the workplace.
... There has been compelling evidence of the broad benefits of expressive writing for stressed populations to facilitate the review of emotionally evocative experiences in relation to health and occupational functioning. 9 One mechanism may be the role documentation of stressful experience plays, but also the emotion-regulatory benefit of self-distancing from the evocative elements of experience through shifts in perspective. 10 In addition, positive emotional responses are broadly considered to be the cornerstone of well-being and happiness, and are consistently predictive of psychological health over time. ...
Preprint
Although evidence exists for a feedback loop between positive affect and self-care behaviors, it is unclear if findings generalize to the COVID-19 pandemic. A 10-day daily diary was completed by 324 adult participants in the United States during spring 2020 when national stay-at-home orders were in effect. We hypothesized a reciprocal within-person process whereby positive affect increased self-care behaviors (Aim 1) and self-care behaviors increased positive affect (Aim 2). Lagged analyses for Aim 1 indicated that greater negative affect, rather than positive affect, predicted increased self-care behaviors from one day to the next day. For Aim 2, concurrent analyses, but not lagged analyses, indicated self-care behaviors was associated with more positive affect and less negative affect afterwards. We discuss the ways negative affect might function differently than normal during stressful environments and conclude self-care behaviors continue to have only a short-term (within a day) impact on positive and negative affect.
... The transformative power of self-transcendence can also be experienced in the following ways: (a) pursuing something or someone greater than oneself, (b) expressive writing (Pennebaker, 2017), (c) re-authoring (Hutto & Gallagher, 2017), and (d) rediscovering a sense of awe and mystery (Schneider, 2004). Frankl's three values and Wong's PURE model of meaning are essential guides to help you discover the meaning that can transcend all your existential concerns, such as fear of death, loneliness, and meaninglessness. ...
... Despite the role of emotional sharing and responsiveness in strengthening interpersonal relationships (Greenberg, 2004;Reis & Shaver, 1988;Rimé, Finkenauer, Luminet, Zech, & Philippot, 1998), surprisingly little is known about how verbally acknowledging others' emotions affects relationships. The scant attention paid to emotional acknowledgment is particularly noticeable when juxtaposed with the wealth of research on the psychological and physiological benefits of using language for processing one's own emotions (e.g., Brooks, 2014;Pennebaker, 1997Pennebaker, , 2018Torre & Lieberman, 2018;Wolf, Lee, Sah, & Brooks, 2016). Furthermore, research on active listening and partner responsiveness typically focuses on responses to someone's verbal accounts of their personal events (Jones, 2011;Maisel, Gable, & Strachman, 2008;Weger, Bell, Minei, & Robinson, 2014), yet responses to their nonverbal expressions have largely been ignored. ...
Article
Full-text available
People often respond to others’ emotions using verbal acknowledgment (e.g., “You seem upset”). Yet, little is known about the relational benefits and risks of acknowledging others’ emotions in the workplace. We draw upon Costly Signaling Theory to posit how emotional acknowledgment influences interpersonal trust. We hypothesize that emotional acknowledgment acts as a costly signal of the perceiver’s willingness to expend personal resources to meet the needs of the expresser. Across six studies, we found convergent evidence that emotional acknowledgment led to greater perceptions of costliness, and in turn, to higher evaluations of trust. These effects were stronger for negative than positive emotions because acknowledging negative emotions involved a greater perceived cost. Moreover, inaccurate acknowledgment fostered greater trust than not acknowledging when positive emotions were mislabeled as negative, but not when negative emotions were mislabeled as positive. These findings advance theory on key dynamics between emotion and language in work-related relationships.
... 38,39,40,41,42 Progressive muscle relaxation, journaling, a communication genogram, and identification of goals and values are examples of skills, which were shared as additional stress management skills. 43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50 This took place within an encouraging, supportive environment, where participants reflected on the previous, present and future challenges in conjunction with psychoeducation and skills' practice. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, an association was observed between medical students’ stress, possibly because of an intensive academic workload and clinical responsibilities, and mental ill health. The literature has shown the benefit of online mindfulness interventions for different mental health challenges. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of information on their benefit to medical students in South Africa. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore whether medical students attending an online mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) would show improved resilience and stress management compared with attendance at an online supportive counselling (SC) programme. Secondary to this was the viability of the intervention, for which an in-depth understanding of participants’ experiences was sought. Setting: The study setting was online through https://zoom.us/. Methods: Forty-five participants were randomly allocated between two 6-week, teacher-facilitated groups. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) of outcome, well-being, perceived stress and self-compassion scores conducted at three time points, as well as thematic analysis of participant feedback, contributed to quantitative and qualitative data. Results: Participants in both the groups showed significant improvement over time in measures of well-being, perceived stress and subjective stress management. Participants in the mindfulness group showed a statistically significant treatment effect in mindfulness at programme completion. A decrease in self-compassion over time was observed in both the groups. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that in this South African medical student cohort, an online MBI and a SC programme are both feasible and show potential for reducing stress, increasing stress management and increasing resilience. Further study in this area is recommended.
... Some only used passive controls that filled in a survey while others received an alternative treatment, which is likely to have produced a gain in happiness by itself (e.g., in the case of doing a writing exercise). Expressive writing can be healing (Pennebaker, 2018). Together, this all means that we should not just take the lowest value at the bottom rows of Tables 4, 5 to be the best estimate. ...
Article
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: (1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, (2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, (3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, (4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and (5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 61 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 179 findings. These findings are available in an online “findings archive,” the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... Just like many other apps ("Question diary", "Questions in a box", etc.) or online programs (Jordan Peterson's self-authoring program [26]) currently available, the program would automatically ask to the participants questions about his/her future purposes, his past, his identity, values, relationship, desires, dreams. Using expressing writing [27,28,29], the app would increase career reflections and guide the individual through his vocational identity construction process. The structuration of the questions should be designed after the analysis of autobiographical career related themes. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In the last years, the use of technology has been introduced in career guidance to help career practitioners support their clients' career decision-making. From a critical psychological perspective, this paper aims to analyze opportunities and risks of career guidance interventions through digital technologies. Specifically , the paper starts with a review of the online interventions, the apps and automatic tools available, and the use of social media in career guidance. A proposal for two possible uses of technologies in career guidance, integrated functions career tools and meaning-making apps, is discussed.
... Adapted from Pennebaker (1997), this prompt asks participants to write about an emotional topic that was important to them and to explore their thoughts, feelings, and the impact this topic has had on their lives and relationships with others. This essay prompt and its adaptations has been widely used in expressive writing and linguistic research (Pennebaker, 2017). ...
Article
This paper describes the development and initial support for Inflexitext, an automated program identifying psychological inflexibility in unstructured verbal data. Written in Python 3.7, Inflexitext produces a psychological inflexibility score based on patterns of word occurrence reflecting its contributing processes. Inflexitext performance was examined in a sample of 809 English speaking adults in the United States recruited using Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform. Participants wrote essays in response to a prompt to write about an emotional issue and completed self-report measures of distress and psychological flexibility relevant constructs. Participant essays were analyzed using Inflexitext and Linguistic Inquiry Word Count 2015 (LIWC), a popular text scoring program. Inflexitext scores demonstrated small positive correlations to self-report measures of experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, challenges in progress towards one's values, and to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress and a medium positive correlation with LIWC coding of negative emotion. Inflexitext scores evidenced small negative correlations with progress towards one's values and LIWC scores on positive emotion. Overall, this initial examination provides preliminary support for the program, although further evaluation is needed and limitations are discussed. Potential applications for future development include unobtrusive ambient monitoring of verbal behavior and real time examination of psychological inflexibility as related to psychological functioning and therapeutic outcomes.
... Research conducted over several decades has illustrated that expressive writing has been shown to have long-term positive physiological, physical, behavioral and affective outcomes in a variety of domains. 26 For example, expressive writing has been shown to reduce negative somatic symptoms in breast cancer patients, 27 reduce depression among depressed women, reduce the number of visits to the physician, 28 decrease smoking in young adult cigarette smokers, 29,30 reduce posttraumatic symptom severity, depression, and anxiety among women with substance use disorders, 31 and reduce drinking intentions in college students. 32,33 The theoretical explanation for these changes is that there are several overlapping processes that affect participants between the study intervention and the outcome. ...
Article
Objective The current study tested an expressive writing intervention aimed at reducing alcohol use and sexual risk behavior among college women that consume alcohol. Methods: A 2 X 2 mixed between- within-subjects experimental design was utilized to test the effect of expressive writing on alcohol use and sexual risk behavior over time among college women that drink. Study participants completed baseline assessments of alcohol use and sexual risk behavior and were randomly assigned to either a control writing condition (first day of college) or an expressive writing condition (negative alcohol-related event). Participants completed baseline assessments 30 days later. Data for this study were collected in the Fall 2017 semester. Results: A significant interaction effect was found for writing condition over time on sexual risk behavior. Conclusion: Findings provide preliminary support for the use of expressive writing as mechanism to reduce sexual risk behavior among college women that consume alcohol.
... LIWC works through identifying words within bodies of text that theoretically belong to defined categories such as emotional tone, cognitive states, perceptual processes, grammar, and computes a percentage of the word use that belongs to a certain construct from the total word count of the sample (Pennebaker et al., 2015). LIWC was developed based on the observation that the way in which people wrote about personal distressing events were functionally related to health outcomes (Pennebaker, 2018;Pennebaker & Beall, 1986). Since its development, the use of LIWC has been studied in numerous clinical samples and with various types of text samples (for review, Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
Nightmares are thought to exist on a continuum of dream experiences, reflecting a more dysphoric process relative to dreams (Levin & Nielsen, 2009). Although there exists an established relationship between nightmares and increased symptomatology, the meaning of this relationship is still unclear (Davis et al., 2008). This study utilized the nightmare transcriptions from a treatment seeking sample of chronic and frequent nightmare sufferers to explore the relationship between language usage in nightmare narratives and indices of distress including posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] symptom severity and individual PTSD symptom cluster severity, nightmare frequency, nightmare distress, and nighttime panic symptoms. It was hypothesized that there would be significant relationships between language use and the aforementioned indices of distress. Specifically, that there would be a positive relationship between symptomatology and words related to negative emotions and perceptual processing, and a negative relationship between symptomatology and the use of words related to cognitive processes and positive emotions. Results indicate that language use, specifically words related to perceptual and cognitive processes, in post-trauma nightmares is associated with increased PTSD symptoms severity, nightmare distress, nightmare frequency, and nighttime panic symptoms. These results suggest that language use in nightmares may reveal important information about underlying cognitive and emotional processes that may help to better understand the etiology and maintenance of PTSD symptoms.
... Some only used passive controls that filled in a survey while others received an alternative treatment, which is likely to have produced a gain in happiness by itself (e.g., in the case of doing a writing exercise). Expressive writing can be healing (Pennebaker, 2018). Together, this all means that we should not just take the lowest value at the bottom rows of Tables 4, 5 to be the best estimate. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 61 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 179 findings. These findings are available in an online 'findings archive', the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... A betegségreprezentációk alakulása tehát spontán az idő előrehaladtával történik, támogatja, ha a személynek lehetősége van saját megélését megfogalmazni, aminek köszönhetően a történések elrendezhetővé válnak az élettörténetben. Ebben a beteg segítségére lehet a családja, barátai, amennyiben azok fi gyelmesen meghallgatják, illetve ugyanígy segítheti a folyamatot önsegítő csoport, pszichológus, de vizsgálatok szerint akár a kérdéses témáról szóló naplóírás is [11]. Eredményeink szerint a metaforák hozzájárulhatnak a betegségreprezentáció kidolgozottságának azonosításához, a betegségreprezentáció alakulási folyamatát kísérő érzelmek megértéséhez, illetve megerősítik a feltevést, miszerint a reprezentáció alakításával az érzelmi állapot befolyásolhatóvá válhat. ...
Article
Full-text available
Absztrakt Bevezetés: A betegségnek jelentést adó reprezentációs keret azonosítása alapvető ahhoz, hogy megértsük a betegek eltérő viselkedését; csoportos felmérése azonban számos kihívást tartogat. Megbízható, betegségspecifikus mérőeszközök hiányában a betegségreprezentációról a betegségnarratíva központi metaforája mentén is képet kaphatunk. Célkitűzés: Pilotvizsgálatunk célja lyphomával élő betegek betegségnarratíváinak feldolgozása, az ezekben fellelhető metaforák csoportosítása, illetve annak felmérése, hogy az egyes metaforák megjelenése mellett milyen érzelmi állapot azonosítható. Módszer: Kvalitatív adatgyűjtésünk félig strukturált interjúhelyzetben történt. A metaforák, illetve más értelemadó keret megjelenését és csoportosítását 2 független megítélő végezte. A betegek emellett 10 fokú vizuális-analóg skálán értékelték azt, hogy a beszámolójuk mennyire volt érzelmi szempontból felkavaró. Statisztikai analízis: A kvantifikált adatokat egyszempontos varianciaanalízis segítségével elemeztük. Eredmények: Vizsgálatunkban 27 lymphomával élő beteg vett részt. A beszámolók 40,7%-ában volt metafora azonosítható, amelyből 29,6% „harc”, 11,1% „út” metafora kategóriába sorolható. A „harc” metafora mellett olyan mértékben jelentek meg intenzív érzelmek, mint abban az esetben, amikor a személy számára nem volt előhívható semmilyen értelemadó keret, amire a helyzete értelmezésében támaszkodhatna. Következtetések: A vizsgált lyphomás betegeknél a daganatos betegségekben jellemző metaforák jelentek meg. A „harc”-cal kapcsolatos metaforák a biológiai működés leírásában is alapvetők, meghatározzák a közgondolkodást. Krónikus betegségekben a „harc”-os metaforák a betegséggel való szembesülés kezdeti időszakát követően kevésbé kidolgozott betegségreprezentációra utalhatnak, ami intenzívebb érzelmi állapottal jár. Vizsgálatunk megerősíti a feltevést, miszerint a reprezentáció befolyásolásával lehetőség nyílhat a betegséggel együtt járó érzelmi állapot módosítására. A fogalomkör meghatározott betegcsoporton belüli pontosabb megértése elvezethet specifikus, betegségreprezentációt mérő eszköz kidolgozásához.
... Because of our organization's culture of learning from patients' stories, we felt that our colleagues would be eager to share their stories and reflections on living and working through a pandemic. We decided to create a space for them to listen to each other, and an opportunity to share their experiences through expressive writing, considered a kind of therapy that uses the writing process to cope with and heal from emotional trauma (Pennebaker, 2018(Pennebaker, , 1997Pennebaker & Smyth, 2016). Others recognized this too: the day before we met, Professor Nicholas Christakis, tweeted: ...
Article
Our research group created a public communication strategy of expressive writing, to use within our research center over the Massachusetts COVID-19 stay at home advisories. Our goals were to 1) build community, 2) recognize the unique experiences, needs, concerns and coping strategies of our colleagues, and 3) create a mechanism to creatively share those experiences. We conceptualized a weekly e-newsletter, "Creativity in the Time of COVID-19," a collective effort for expressing and documenting the extraordinary, lived experiences of our colleagues during this unique time of a coronavirus pandemic. Through 23 online issues, we have captured 72 colleagues' perspectives on social isolation, the challenges of working from home, and hope in finding connection through virtual platforms. We have organized the themes of these submissions, in the forms of photos, essays, poetry, original artwork, and more, according to three components of the Social Connection Framework: structural, functional and quality approaches to creating social connectedness.
... The bush fire in Alberta, Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and migrant family stress in Pforzheim were identified as study populations of vulnerable populations [12]. Creative writing of pregnant women has been used and shown that short episodes of expressive writing can improve cognitive outcome of the offspring [105,106]. In a review by Olson et al. [12] it is described that children will be later examined for neuromotor outcome, metabolic biomarkers, and the risk for a later premature birth. ...
Article
Experimental and clinical studies suggest that prenatal experiences may influence health trajectories up to adulthood and high age. According to the hypothesis of developmental origins of health and disease exposure of pregnant women to stress, nutritional challenges, infection, violence, or war may "program" risks for diseases in later life. Stress and anxieties can exist or be provoked in parents after fertility treatment, after information or diagnosis of fetal abnormalities and demand simultaneous caring concepts to support the parents. In vulnerable groups, it is therefore important to increase the stress resilience to avoid harmful consequences for the growing child. "Enriched environment" defines a key paradigm to decipher how interactions between genes and environment change the structure and function of the brain. The regulation of the fetal hippocampal neurogenesis and morphology during pregnancy is one example of this complex interaction. Animal experiments have demonstrated that an enriched environment can revert consequences of stress in the offspring during critical periods of brain plasticity. Epigenetic markers of stress or wellbeing during pregnancy might even be diagnosed by fragments of placental DNA in the maternal circulation that show characteristic methylation patterns. The development of fetal senses further illustrates how external stimulation may impact individual preferences. Here, we therefore not only discuss how maternal stress influences cognitive development and resilience, but also design possibilities of non-invasive interventions for both mothers and children summarized and evaluated in the light of their potential to improve the health of future generations.
... Although some authors found certain potential side effects of writing techniques on the emotional well-being of patients , a large body of literature confirmed their beneficial effects, which amplify and prolong the therapeutic effect of the talking therapy with the clinicians. Importantly, adding writing techniques to talking therapies was found to reduce the length of treatment and improve access to psychological therapies (Gerger et al., 2021;Pennebaker, 2018). The integration of writing techniques within traditional talking therapies or new positive interventions could be easily done also using technological devices, such as app, emails, on line journals or social networks (Botella et al., 2017) which could be more appealing for younger patients. ...
Article
Full-text available
Writing Therapy (WT) is defined as a process of investigation about personal thoughts and feelings using the act of writing as an instrument, with the aim of promoting self-healing and personal growth. WT has been integrated in specific psychotherapies with the aim of treating specific mental disorders (PTSD, depression, etc.). More recently, WT has been included in several Positive Interventions (PI) as a useful tool to promote psychological well-being. This narrative review was conducted by searching on scientific databases and analyzing essential studies, academic books and journal articles where writing therapy was applied. The aim of this review is to describe and summarize the use of WT across various psychotherapies, from the traditional applications as expressive writing, or guided autobiography, to the phenomenological-existential approach (Logotherapy) and, more recently, to the use of WT within Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Finally, the novel applications of writing techniques from a positive psychology perspective will be analyzed. Accordingly, the applications of WT for promoting forgiveness, gratitude, wisdom and other positive dimensions will be illustrated. The results of this review show that WT yield therapeutic effects on symptoms and distress, but it also promotes psychological well-being. The use of writing can be a standalone treatment or it can be easily integrated as supplement in other therapeutic approaches. This review might help clinician and counsellors to apply the simple instrument of writing to promote insight, healing and well-being in clients, according to their specific clinical needs and therapeutic goals.
... A substantial body of work suggests that disclosing emotional distress and trauma experiences through narrative can have beneficial effects on health and well-being including physiological function (Cepeda et al., 2008;Pennebaker, 2000;Pennebaker & Smyth, 2016). However, it appears that it is not simply open expression or disclosure but the organizing effects of narrative on cognition that mediate these positive effects (Pennebaker, 2018). Hence, narrative constructions of experience are the explicit focus of clinical interventions in health psychology and psychotherapy, which aim to help the patient (and their family) interpret symptoms and affliction in ways that are not simply biomedically accurate but that reduce anxiety or catastrophizing and promote coping and resilience. ...
Preprint
This chapter reviews the key principles of narrative medicine and its central importance for person centered medical care. The last two decades have seen the emergence of narrative medicine as a complement to biomedical approaches. Narratives are the vehicles through which patients understand and communicate their health problems, past history, and current concerns. Clinicians, in turn, offer narrative accounts of the nature of symptoms and illness that make sense of patients' suffering, clarify its potential course and outcome, and provide a rationale for specific treatment interventions. Narrative medicine gives explicit attention to the ways that people convey their symptoms, predicaments and concerns and how the meaning of these experiences is interpreted and understood. Close reading or unpacking of the origins, meaning and significance of the narratives of patients and clinicians can inform person centered care. Narrative understanding can contribute to more accurate and complete characterization of patients' needs, a stronger clinical alliance and more effective interventions.
... A substantial body of work suggests that disclosing emotional distress and trauma experiences through narrative can have beneficial effects on health and well-being including physiological function (Cepeda et al., 2008;Pennebaker, 2000;Pennebaker & Smyth, 2016). However, it appears that it is not simply open expression or disclosure but the organizing effects of narrative on cognition that mediate these positive effects (Pennebaker, 2018). Hence, narrative constructions of experience are the explicit focus of clinical interventions in health psychology and psychotherapy, which aim to help the patient (and their family) interpret symptoms and affliction in ways that are not simply biomedically accurate but that reduce anxiety or catastrophizing and promote coping and resilience. ...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the key principles of narrative medicine and its central importance for person centered medical care. The last two decades have seen the emergence of narrative medicine as a complement to biomedical approaches. Narratives are the vehicles through which patients understand and communicate their health problems, past history, and current concerns. Clinicians, in turn, offer narrative accounts of the nature of symptoms and illness that make sense of patients' suffering, clarify its potential course and outcome, and provide a rationale for specific treatment interventions. Narrative medicine gives explicit attention to the ways that people convey their symptoms, predicaments and concerns and how the meaning of these experiences is interpreted and understood. Close reading or unpacking of the origins, meaning and significance of the narratives of patients and clinicians can inform person centered care. Narrative understanding can contribute to more accurate and complete characterization of patients' needs, a stronger clinical alliance and more effective interventions.
... Los resultados obtenidos en esta materia han confirmado la correlación entre el uso de determinadas palabras y el funcionamiento psicológico (Hirsh & Peterson, 2009;Lee et al., 2007;Pennebaker & King, 1999), el estilo cogniti-vo (Wolf et al., 2007), el procesamiento neurobiológico subyacente (Saxbe et al., 2013;Vigliocco et al., 2014) y la afección psicológica sobre experiencias traumáticas (Pennebaker, 2018;Walton & Wilson, 2018). Adicional a esta evidencia, se encuentran las iniciativas en perfilación derivada de evidencia digital (Al Mutawa et al., 2019), en particular los hallazgos sobre la correlación entre los rasgos de la personalidad de un sujeto y el uso que hace de datos digitales no textuales, por ejemplo: emoji (Hall & Penninton, 2013;Marengo et al., 2017), que aportan un corpus de conocimiento relevante para la interpretación de evidencia levantada desde distintas fuentes documentales, derivadas de la técnica de perfilación psicolingüística, aplicada a la investigación criminal (Ceballos-Espinoza, 2017b). ...
Article
Full-text available
Junto al alza cuantitativa de homicidios durante los últimos años, históricamente se han registrado casos cuya investigación criminal resulta particularmente compleja. De ahí que exista una constante demanda de nuevas metodologías que permitan efectivizar los resultados del trabajo de los equipos policiales investigativos. En este escenario, la Evaluación Psicológica Reconstructiva (EPR) surge como la posibilidad de realizar una evaluación psicológica indirecta y retrospectiva, en ausencia del sujeto (víctima/victimario), orientada a explicar la posible relación entre las características psíquicas y el acto criminal. En el presente artículo se indaga sobre los aportes de la EPR dentro de la investigación criminal de homicidios; en particular, se revisan los hallazgos –reportados en la literatura científica–, que resultan de utilidad para una adecuada interpretación de la evidencia recopilada a partir de este método indirecto de evaluación. Se concluye que la EPR constituye un elemento de gran utilidad dentro de la investigación criminal de alta complejidad; además, señala la necesidad de superar las actuales barreras metodológicas, para la interpretación de la evidencia, mediante el apoyo de esta en sistemas computacionales dentro de este proceso analítico.
... This hypothesis was based on prior studies suggesting that reliving a positive event might be even more important for feeling good than the activity itself (e.g., Emmons and McCullough, 2003;Van Boven and Gilovich, 2003). The emotional benefits of expressive writing is well-established in the literature, although the focus often lies in writing about traumatic or emotionally charged experiences (Pennebaker, 2018). However, when dating couples expressively wrote about their relationships, the chance of being together 3 months later was significantly higher compared to couples who wrote about daily activities (Slatcher and Pennebaker, 2006). ...
Article
Full-text available
People with reduced levels of mental well-being might be at risk for developing future mental illness. Although several positive psychology interventions successfully improve mental well-being and psychological distress, less is known about their efficacy in a sample at risk for mental disorders. A Dutch sample of 289 participants with low or moderate levels of well-being were randomly assigned to other-focused kindness with reflection, other-focused kindness without reflection, self-focused kindness, or waitlist control (Trial register: NTR6786). Results of multilevel growth curve analyses revealed that other-focused kindness, but not self-focused kindness, led to improvements in the primary outcome mental well-being relative to waitlist control up to 6-week follow-up. By contrast, only other-focused kindness without reflection led to improvements in psychological distress. The three kindness conditions mainly did not differ from one another, and mainly no differences were found up to 6-months follow-up. An exception was that perceived stress was significantly more reduced up to 6-week and 6-months follow-up when people practiced other-focused kindness without reflection then when participants had practiced self-focused kindness. These findings point to the benefits of practicing kindness for others when people might be at risk for future mental illness. The study also indicates that reflecting about practicing kindness does not seem to have added value.
... Some only used passive controls that filled in a survey, others received an alternative treatment, which is likely to have produced a gain in happiness by itself, e.g. in the case of doing a writing exercise. Expressive writing can be healing [80]. Together, this all means that we should not just take the lowest value at the bottom rows of Table 4 or 5 to be the best estimate. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 106 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 314 findings. These findings are available in an online ‘findings archive’, the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... This intervention will be done based on the Pennebaker method [39]. Before the intervention, caregivers will be instructed by a trained researcher in order to do this writing. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Family caregivers of dying cancer patients are affected by grief experiences and bereavement complications. Several approaches such as psycho-emotional care and an increase in spirituality have been suggested to diminish these complications. However, the knowledge about the effects of family-based dignity intervention and expressive writing on anticipatory grief in family caregivers of dying cancer patients is limited. This is a study protocol describing a hospital-based mixed-methods study on the effects of family-based dignity intervention and expressive writing on anticipatory grief in family caregivers of dying cancer patients. Methods This mixed-methods study will be done in an embedded explanatory design with two quantitative and qualitative phases. In the first phase (quantitative), a randomized clinical trial will be done, in which 200 family caregivers of dying cancer patients will be randomly assigned to one of the four groups: family-based single dignity intervention (group 1), expressive writing intervention (group 2), combined family-based single dignity intervention and expressive writing (group 3), and control (group 4). At baseline, 1 week and 2 weeks after the interventions, anticipatory grief will be assessed by a 13-item anticipatory grief scale. After the quantitative phase, the qualitative phase will be conducted through the conventional content analysis approach of Granheim and Lundman, in which an individual semi-structured interview will be taken from participants in the first phase to collect data on their experiences on interventions. Finally, data from the quantitative and qualitative phases will be analyzed and discussed. Discussion Family caregivers of dying cancer patients usually experience depression, anxiety, and psychological distress due to isolation and inadequate social support. Psychological interventions such as dignity and expressive writing interventions may help caregivers to obtain a better understanding of themselves and to increase their abilities to cope with caregiving difficulties. Therefore, there is a need for a comprehensive study confirming the effects of mentioned interventions on family caregivers of dying cancer patients. Trial registration Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials ( www.irct.ir ) identifier: IRCT20210111050010N1. Date of trial registration: Feb 6, 2021. This is the first version of this protocol.
... Expressive writing is a technique in which people write about an unpleasant experience for about 15-20 min a day for three or four days. In addition, expressive writing is defined as an intervention in which people express their thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event to regain their biological and physical well-being (Pennebaker, 2018). Over the past two decades, research has shown that keeping an expressive writing journal about a traumatic or stressful event has a significant effect on promoting mental and physical health and reducing stress levels (Kadivar et al., 2015). ...
Article
Objective This qualitative study examines the linguistic features associated with postpartum depression. Methods In this longitudinal online study, 53 mothers completed self-report questionnaires assessing symptoms of postpartum depression and an expressive writing exercise about their pregnancy and birth. Mothers were randomly divided into two groups (intervention and control groups). Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count [LIWC] was used to examine the written data for depression and no depression groups. Results The overall use of words varied depending on the severity of depressive symptoms. Negative emotions and introspective terms were associated with depression and lower use of first-person plural pronouns but not singular pronouns. Additionally, the groups of individuals with depression showed a positive correlation between depressive symptoms and words referring to friends, leisure activities, the body, breastfeeding, exercise, and eating attitudes. Conclusion In addition to self-disclosure, word analysis and appropriate categorization could be useful for perinatal symptomatology in pregnant women, and interestingly also a meaningful tool that can be taught and used as a preventive care measure among pregnant and postpartum women.
... Some only used passive controls that filled in a survey, others received an alternative treatment, which is likely to have produced a gain in happiness by itself, e.g. in the case of doing a writing exercise. Expressive writing can be healing [80]. Together, this all means that we should not just take the lowest value at the bottom rows of Table 4 or 5 to be the best estimate. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 106 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 314 findings. These findings are available in an online 'findings archive', the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was Prime Archives in Psychology: 2 nd Edition 3 www.videleaf.com approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... Writing is "a flexible, versatile, and powerful tool" (Graham & Harris, 2019, p. 7) that enables the attainment of multiple goals in personal and public spheres Graham et al., 2013). In the personal sphere, writing allows people to communicate with each other when physically apart and to reflect on their deepest thoughts and feelings (Pennebaker, 2018). In the school context, writing is a fundamental tool to communicate and learn, both across and within subjects (Graham et al., 2020). ...
Thesis
Writing is a key skill in literacy-dependent societies as well as a gateway to academic success and lifelong learning. However, many students do not develop robust writing skills and report low motivation to engage in writing tasks. The present thesis describes a systematic review, two observational studies, and one intervention study, whose main aim was to examine the contribution of motivation to writing performance in Portuguese middle school students. The systematic review summarized findings of 82 empirical studies. We identified 24 motivation-related constructs and found positive associations between these constructs and quantitative measures of writing performance. The first observational study examined the relations among self-efficacy, attitudes, writing frequency, and text quality of students in grades 5-6 and 7-8. Attitudes contributed to both literary and digital writing frequency and to the quality of narrative and opinion texts across grade-levels. Self-efficacy for self-regulation also made a significant contribution to narrative text quality across grade-levels. Digital writing frequency was significantly associated with text quality only in grades 7-8. Using the same sample, the second observational study investigated the relations among implicit theories, achievement goals, and text quality. We found that more incremental theories were associated with a greater endorsement of mastery goals and with higher text quality. Furthermore, a greater endorsement of mastery goals was associated with higher text quality, whereas a greater adoption of performance-approach goals was linked to lower text quality. Finally, the intervention study tested the impact of a writing instructional program for sixth graders and the added value of a brief growth mindset intervention. The writing program was effective in enhancing students’ text quality and length, but not self-efficacy nor implicit theories. Altogether, these findings underline the pivotal role that motivation plays in students’ writing performance.
... This qualitative study aimed to explore the recurrent themes of mixed expressive writing among undergraduates during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic among adults in Malaysia. Expressive writing was designed to help people with traumatic experiences to decrease the negative effects such as stress and anxiety through translating their past experiences into language [1]. Expressing their deepest thoughts and feelings allows them to review and reflect on the past experiences, which helped them confront traumatic events by reconstructing them in a meaningful way [2]. ...
Article
Full-text available
In order to curb the depression levels among youth during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, we examined the recurrent themes of mixed expressive writing among undergraduates during the pandemic. Previous quantitative studies had emphasized on the effectiveness of expressive writing in reducing depressive symptoms, however, less qualitative studies were conducted in evaluating the content within people’s writings. As the pandemic had caused major disruptions among people, we implemented mixed expressive writing in capturing both positive and negative experiences during the pandemic. Ten participants were recruited to perform mixed expressive writing twice per week, for four consecutive weeks. Thematic analysis was used in analyzing their writings and forming the emerged themes. Five themes were formed, which included ‘school’, ‘relationships’, ‘reflection’, ‘work’, and “random incidents’. Future research should examine the effectiveness of expressive writing in writing specific themes on improving its respective psychological constructs.
... Extensive empirical work on the psychological impact of trauma highlights the benefits and power of testimony and storytelling across a wide variety of experiences and cultures (see, for example, Pennebaker 2000Pennebaker , 2018László 2008). These benefits include enhanced immune system functioning; reduction in physician visits; lower levels of depression; and enhanced mood, demonstrating evidence of significant and consistent relationships between writing and speaking about difficult experiences and physical health (Pennebaker 2000). ...
Article
Full-text available
Digital scholarship is ubiquitous, where even the most Luddite of scholars use some form of digital technology in their research. Differences in the level of technology use have become a question of degree not kind. Currently in the second wave of Digital Humanities, Presner (2010) argues that Digital Humanities 2.0 introduces entirely new-born digital paradigms, methodologies, and publication models not derived from print culture. This new wave is “deeply generative, creating the environments and tools for producing, curating, and interacting with knowledge that is ‘born digital’ and lives in various digital contexts” (Presner 2010, para. 13). Using the case study of a Digital Humanities project called “The Waterford Memories Project”, this paper will consider both the role of born digital survivor testimony in confronting a difficult and disputed past in Ireland and, more broadly, how we create and access knowledge in this contested space. The Waterford Memories Project is an oral history driven study in digital humanities, publicly documenting survivor narratives of the Magdalene Laundries and Industrial Schools in the South-East of Ireland. The last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland closed in 1996. These institutions formed part of a system of coercive confinement, which incorporated a wide range of historical institutions used to confine both children and adults whose “crimes” were to act against the strict and punitive moral codes of the period, poverty, or mental illness. This paper will examine the role of born digital data in public humanities (in the form of the audio-recorded survivor oral histories), and frames the Waterford Memories digital humanities project in the technoculture and minimal computing literature, emphasising the overall need for a human-centred approach to technology at all stages of the research. Cultural stories can become fossilised and continue to perpetuate the silencing of survivors; it is therefore essential to consider how the openly available digital testimony contributes to the framing of cultural discourse around our history of coercive confinement in Ireland.
... Journals could be completed at a time and place of the participants choosing anytime during the week. The emailed prompt mirrored standard directions used in a number of expressive writing studies (e.g., Hudson & Day, 2012;Pennebaker, 2018;Salim & Wadey, 2018). Specifically, parents were provided with the following prompt: "Please write for approximately 15 minutes about your experience as a youth sport parent. ...
Article
Full-text available
Youth sport parents experience an array of emotions as part of their child’s youth sport experience. This may include emotions related to watching their child play, supporting their child’s emotions, or simply related to daily parenting responsibilities. This research examined youth sport parent emotions through an expressive writing exercise. Twelve parents completed a total of 32 expressive writing exercises. In each exercise, parents were asked to write about their emotions as a youth sport parent. Quantitative analysis with Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC; Pennebaker et al., 2015) software and qualitative thematic analysis were employed to analyze writings. Results indicate that though parents experienced both positive and negative emotions, negative emotions were most common and salient. Thematic analysis resulted in six themes, including one theme related to positive emotions (happiness for child experience), and five themes related to negative emotions: 1) general stress and negativity, 2) responsibilities, 3) role as parent, 4) coach, and 5) performance. Results also lead to practical implications for park and recreation administrators. First, as substantial stress is related to the time and financial responsibilities associated with sport parenting, organizations may wish to seek ways to support parents including through scholarship funds, and facilitating communication and duty sharing among parents. Parent education programs may also be a way to help parents navigate their own emotions related to parenting roles. Coaches were also a source of negative emotions for parents, though not always for the same reasons. Youth sport organizations can facilitate coach-parent communication to ensure that parent-coach goals are aligned, and provide training for coaches in both sport-specific skills and positive youth development. In addition to facilitating coach-parent communication, organizations may also encourage child-parent communication related to goals. This could include email communications with exercises designed to encourage specific conversations about goals of youth sport participation. Each of these implications is tied directly to negative emotions expressed by parents as part of this research. Assisting parents with these emotions will improve the experience for both the parent and will likely enable the youth participant to have a more positive experience as well.
Article
Full-text available
The unexpected death of a child is one of the most challenging losses as it fractures survivors’ sense of parenthood and other layers of identity. Given that not all the bereaved parents who have need for support respond well to available treatments and that many have little access to further intervention or follow-up over time, online interventions featuring therapeutic writing and peer support have strong potential. In this article we explore how a group of bereaved mothers experienced the process of participating in an online course in therapeutic writing for the integration of grief. Our research questions were: How do parents who have lost a child experience being part of an online course in therapeutic writing? What are the perceived benefits and challenges of writing in processing their grief? We followed an existential phenomenological approach and analyzed fieldwork notes ( n = 13), qualitative data from the application and assessment surveys ( n = 35; n = 21), excerpts from the journals of some participants ( n = 3), and email correspondence with some participants ( n = 5). We categorized the results in three meaning units: (1) where does my story begin? The “both and” of their silent chaos; (2) standing on the middle line: a pregnancy that does not end; (3) closures and openings: “careful optimism” and the need for community support. Participants experienced writing as an opportunity for self-exploration regarding their identities and their emotional world, as well as a means to develop and strengthen a bond with their children. They also experienced a sense of belonging, validation, and acceptance in the online group in a way that helped them make sense of their suffering. Online writing courses could be of benefit for bereaved parents who are grieving the unexpected death of a child, but do not replace other interventions such as psychotherapy. In addition to trauma and attachment informed models of grief, identity informed models with a developmental focus might enhance the impact of both low-threshold community interventions and more intensive clinical ones. Further studies and theoretical development in the area are needed, addressing dialogical notions such as the multivoicedness of the self.
Article
Freud’s research on errors was not a therapeutic issue but was motivated by an interest in the “human, all-too-human” condition and the search for self-recognition. In this sense, the psychoanalytic concept of parapraxis is relevant to interdisciplinary research within the humanities. In the present article the authors aim to demonstrate this by means of two exemplary areas. In the first section, parapraxes are discussed as a possible starting point for self-analytical and self-educational processes and are thus identified as a subject of educational scientific questions. In the second section various theories within the framework of psychoanalytical and cultural theoretical considerations are used to reflect on the meaning of error and parapraxis in the genesis of the subject (subjectivation).
Article
Background: Based on the principles of Narrative Medicine, this study explored a narrative-based workshop for multi-level interdisciplinary clinicians who have EOL conversations. Methods: Fifty-two clinicians participated in narrative-based interactive workshops. Participants engaged narrative in three forms: viewing narratives, writing/sharing narratives, and co-constructing narratives. Post workshop interviews were conducted and thematically analyzed. Results: Five themes characterized how the workshop shaped learning and subsequent care experiences: (1) learning to enter/respond to the patient stories, (2) communicating across professions and disciplines, (3) practicing self-care. Additional themes emphasized (4) barriers to narrative learning and (5) obstacles to applying narrative to practice. Discussion: Results highlight the function/utility of narrative forms such as the value of processing emotions via reflective writing, feeling vulnerable while sharing narratives, and appreciating colleagues' obstacles while observing patient-clinician simulations. Challenges associated with narrative such as writing anxiety and barriers to implementation such as time constraints are detailed to inform future initiatives.
Article
Aim of the study was to explore the psychological well-being of Norcia’s teachers and students 3 years after the earthquake, and to verify the effectiveness of the Pennebaker’s expressive writing intervention (EWI) on a group of high-school students. In the first step of the study a drawing participative action-intervention, lasting three days, was carried out with twelve teachers of primary, middle and high school and their students. From the first step, emerged fear and anxiety related to the earthquake, and that the sense of belonging to Norcia community appeared to be an integrative factor against the dissociative feelings of the trauma. Starting from these results, in the second step of the study, the EWI was carried out on a sample of 18 high-school students. The participants were instructed to write for three days about feelings related to Norcia earthquake (experimental group) and about a non-emotional account of daily activities (control group). Before (T0) and 1 month after (T1) the EWI, levels of anxiety, the depression, the trauma symptom, dissociation, post-traumatic growth were measured. Moreover, the territorial sense of community was assessed at T0. Results of the second steps showed that the writing intervention did not reduce the psychopathological symptoms of the experimental group. However, it emerged that the sense of community could be a protective factor against the depression symptoms and could have an important facilitating role for the post-traumatic growth.
Article
Covid-19 pandemics occurs all over the world forcing children to study and play at home. Staying at home for a long time is a risks to the occurance of stress due to limited physical activity, children are more often watching TV or playing gadgets. To reduce stress and boredom and to improve children's body movements, it is necessary to do walk and stop playing activity and expressive writing which can decrease stress and increase not only concentration but also reflexes of a child's body. This activity was attended by 16 children aged 6-12 years old at Al Rasyid Alquran Learning Center, Bangkalan. The activities was held for two days. In day one, the children wrote expressively in a book about knowing children feeling. In day two, they played walk and stop. Their stress level measured by using perceived stress scale for children. In pre test, 14 children was in mild stress level while in post test, 8 children was in mild stress level. The result of this activities indicates that children's stress is decreased. Children and parents are expected to talk to each other more and to do physical activites together so that the children can develop and grow healthy.
Article
This paper reports on a descriptive mixed-method study that aimed to identify the impact of expressive writing on relieving the academic stress of 157 undergraduate students at an Ecuadorian university. Data were gathered through two questionnaires and from focus groups. Results showed enduring relief of academic stress. Furthermore, they help to shed light on the need to study the impact of academic stress on university students and to look for different strategies that can alleviate it. These findings could help to understand students’ needs, as they have essential implications in teachers’ practices and, consequently, in students’ performance. In conclusion, expressive writing has a positive effect on helping to ease academic stress and overcome some difficulties caused by this issue.
Chapter
Global climate change is resulting in more frequent, and increasingly severe, natural disasters that affect large populations. Disasters have a measurable effect on the physical and mental health of citizens, including pregnant women. In addition to increasing the pregnant woman’s risk of postpartum depression, prenatal (and perhaps even preconception) exposure to population-level disasters appears to program the unborn child in ways that could compromise long-term well-being. Although there are many options for dealing with stress in individual women going through punctual life events, such as the death of a family member, such individual-level interventions could not feasibly be applied to hundreds or thousands of perinatal women in the wake of a natural disaster that disrupts the functioning of an entire community.
Article
This paper focuses on the partnership between Writopia Lab and PS 89, a K-8, Title 1 School in the Bronx, to explore concrete ways of inviting joy and play into the classroom while interacting with the embedded obstacles within our education culture.
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Family caregivers of dying cancer patients are affected by grief experiences and bereavement complications. Several approaches such as psycho-emotional care and an increase in spirituality have been suggested to diminish these complications. However, no study has examined the effects of family-based dignity intervention and expressive writing on anticipatory grief in family caregivers of dying cancer patients. This study was done to describe the protocol of a mixed-methods study on the effects of family-based dignity intervention and expressive writing on anticipatory grief in family caregivers of dying cancer patients. Methods: This mixed-methods study will be done in an embedded explanatory design with two quantitative and qualitative phases. In the first phase (quantitative), a randomized clinical trial will be done, in which 200 family caregivers of dying cancer patients will be randomly assigned to one of the four groups: family-based dignity intervention (group 1), expressive writing intervention (group 2), combined family-based dignity intervention and expressive writing (group 3), and controls (group 4). At baseline, one week and two weeks after the interventions, anticipatory grief will be assessed by a 13-item anticipatory grief scale. After the quantitative phase, the qualitative phase will be conducted through the conventional content analysis approach of Granheim and Lundman, in which an individual semi-structured interview will be taken from participants in the first phase to collect data on their experiences on interventions. Finally, data from quantitative and qualitative phases will be analyzed and discussed. Discussion: Family caregivers of dying cancer patients usually experience depression, anxiety, and psychological distress due to isolation and inadequate social support. Psychological interventions such as dignity and expressive writing interventions may help caregivers to obtain a better understanding of themselves and to increase their abilities to cope with caregiving difficulties. Therefore, there is a need for a comprehensive study confirming the effects of mentioned interventions on family caregivers of dying cancer patients. Trial registration: Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (www.irct.ir) IRCT20210111050010N1. Retrospectively registered 6 February 2021.
Article
Freud introduced the concept of parapraxis to demonstrate that the benefits of psychoanalytical theory and methodology extend beyond clinical practice. Despite various paradigmatic shifts in psychoanalysis, this concept has not been significantly discussed. After a brief recapitulation of the basic principles of parapraxis, the article reflects on the possible cultural functions of parapraxes. First, we discuss a possible societal benefit of parapraxis as a form of mental hygiene that helps an individual to remain healthy in spite of pathogenic social imperatives. We then explore whether engagement with parapraxes for the purpose of self-analysis can offer a biographically relevant learning opportunity beyond psychotherapy. Subsequently, we show that the relevance of psychoanalytical parapraxis theory extends as far as the major pillars of the psychoanalytical concept of the subject and try to demonstrate that mistakes could take on a prominent position within the inter-theoretical discourse of subjectivization.
Article
Full-text available
Writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events has been found to result in improvements in both physical and psychological health, in non-clinical and clinical populations. In the expressive writing paradigm, participants are asked to write about such events for 15-20 minutes on 3-5 occasions. Those who do so generally have significantly better physical and psychological outcomes compared with those who write about neutral topics. Here we present an overview of the expressive writing paradigm, outline populations for which it has been found to be beneficial and discuss possible mechanisms underlying the observed health benefits. In addition, we suggest how expressive writing can be used as a therapeutic tool for survivors of trauma and in psychiatric settings.
Article
Full-text available
Can psychotherapy reduce the incidence of health problems? A general model of psychosomatics assumes that inhibiting or holding back one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is associated with long-term stress and disease. Actively confronting upsetting experiences--through writing or talk- ing-is hypothesized to reduce the negative effects of inhibition. Fifty healthy undergraduates were assigned to write about either traumatic experiences or superficial topics for 4 consecutive days. Two measures of cellular immune-system function and health center visits suggested that confronting traumatic experiences was physically beneficial. The implications for psychotherapy as a preventive treatment for health problems are discussed. There is little doubt that psychotherapy reduces subjective distress and yields positive behavioral outcomes. In recent years, a small group of researchers has sought to learn whether psychotherapy can also reduce health problems. Two promising reviews have indicated that the use of mental health services is associated with fewer medical visits, fewer days of hospitaliza- tion, and lower overall medical costs. In a summary of 15 stud- ies published between 1965 and 1980, Mumford, Schlesinger, and Glass (1981) found that individuals who underwent psy- chotherapy evidenced a 13% decrease in medical utilization rel- ative to nonpsychotherapy control subjects. Similarly, in a re- view of 13 studies of mental health services that were intro- duced into organizations, Jones and Vischi (1980) found that psychotherapy was associated with a 20% drop in medical utili- zation.
Article
Full-text available
Examined whether writing about traumatic events would influence long-term measures of health as well as short-term indicators of physiological arousal and reports of negative moods in 46 introductory psychology students. Also examined were aspects of writing about traumatic events (i.e., cognitive, affective, or both) that were most related to physiological and self-report variables. Ss wrote about either personally traumatic life events or trivial topics on 4 consecutive days. In addition to health center records, physiological measures and self-reported moods and physical symptoms were collected throughout the experiment. Findings indicate that, in general, writing about both the emotions and facts surrounding a traumatic event was associated with relatively higher blood pressure and negative moods following the essays, but fewer health center visits in the 6 mo following the experiment. It is concluded that, although findings should be considered preliminary, they bear directly on issues surrounding catharsis, self-disclosure, and a general theory of psychosomatics based on behavioral inhibition. (24 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
A meta-analysis was conducted to examine the effects of the written emotional disclosure paradigm on health outcomes of people with physical or psychiatric disorders. After nine studies were meta-analyzed, it was determined that expressive writing significantly improved health (d = .19; p < .05). However, this positive relationship (r = .10) was not moderated by any systemic variables because of the nonsignificant test of homogeneity (Qw = 5.27; p = .73). Nonetheless, a planned contrast illustrated that expressive writing is more effective on physical (d = .21; p = .01) than on psychological (d = .07; p = .17) health outcomes (Qb > 10.83; p < .001). One explanation for the small effect size (ES) results and the nonsignificant test of homogeneity may be the small and heterogeneous samples used in some of the studies within this research synthesis. Future research with expressive writing should be tested with randomized controlled trials to increase the likelihood of detecting a larger treatment effect.
Chapter
Attempting to understand the body’s signals is similar to trying to interpret the noises and sensations of the automobile that we drive. We do not have a computer printout of either the current physiological status of our body or the condition of the various systems of our car. Given this, we are in the position of attempting to understand a large array of ambiguous sensations about which we have at best a modicum of knowledge. Whether we are dealing with human bodies or inanimate cars, the awareness and reporting of symptoms are dependent on psychological or perceptual processes. Throughout this book, a large number of studies have outlined some of the parameters that determine when and why symptoms are reported. Before discussing some of the implications of symptom research, we present the following brief review of our current knowledge about the perception of physical symptoms.
Book
Physical symptoms are fascinating phenomena to examine. We all experience them, use them as signals to guide our behavior, and usually assume that they accurately represent underlying physiological activity. At the same time, we implicitly know that bodily sensations are often vague, ambiguous, and subject to a variety of interpretations. It is not surprising, then, that there is often a disparity between what we think is going on in our bodies and what is objectively occurring. In short, phenomena such as physical symptoms are the stuff of psychology. My own research into physical symptoms started by accident several years ago. In a hastily devised experiment dealing with the effects of noise on behavior, I had to write a post-experimental questionnaire that would be long enough to allow the experimenter time to calibrate some equipment for a later portion of the study. I included some physical symptoms on the questionnaire as fillers. The experiment was a total failure, with the exception of the symptom reports. People's perceptions of symptoms were easily influenced by our manipulations, even though their actual physiological state had not changed. And so began the present inquiry. Despite the pervasiveness, importance, and sheer amount of time and money devoted to discussing and curing common physical symptoms and sensations, very little empirical work has been devoted to examining the psychological and perceptual factors related to sensory experience. Occa sional papers have tested a specific theory, such as cognitive dissonance, wherein physical symptoms served as an interesting dependent measure."
Article
An abundance of research from diverse areas of psychological science is potentially relevant to behavioral therapy development research. The National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health convened a workshop to reinforce the connection between basic behavioral and therapy development research. The articles in this Special Section are the product of this workshop. Several lines of basic behavioral research are described, and implications for the development of behavioral therapies are discussed. This Special Section highlights the notion that strengthening the bond between behavioral therapy development research and basic behavioral science will accelerate the advancement of knowledge about behavior, behavioral change, and therapeutic interventions.
Article
For the past decade, an increasing number of studies have demonstrated that when individuals write about emotional experiences, significant physical and mental health improvements follow. The basic paradigm and findings are summarized along with some boundary conditions. Although a reduction in inhibition may contribute to the disclosure phenomenon, changes in basic cognitive and linguistic processes during writing predict better health. Implications for theory and treatment are discussed.
Article
This meta-analysis examined whether writing about stressful experiences affects health care utilization (HCU) compared with writing on neutral topics or no-writing control groups. Randomized controlled trials of 30 independent samples representing 2,294 participants were located that contained sufficient information to calculate effect sizes. After omitting one study as an outlier, the effects were combined within 3 homogeneous groups: healthy samples (13 studies), samples with preexisting medical conditions (6 studies), and samples prescreened for psychological criteria (10 studies). Combined effect sizes, Hedges's g (95% confidence interval), with random effects estimation were 0.16 (0.02, 0.31), 0.21 (-0.02, 0.43), and 0.06 (-0.12, 0.24), respectively. Writing about stressful experiences reduces HCU in healthy samples but not in samples defined by medical diagnoses or exposure to stress or other psychological factors. The significance of these effects for individuals' health is unknown.
Article
Disclosing information, thoughts, and feelings about personal and meaningful topics (experimental disclosure) is purported to have various health and psychological consequences (e.g., J. W. Pennebaker, 1993). Although the results of 2 small meta-analyses (P. G. Frisina, J. C. Borod, & S. J. Lepore, 2004; J. M. Smyth, 1998) suggest that experimental disclosure has a positive and significant effect, both used a fixed effects approach, limiting generalizability. Also, a plethora of studies on experimental disclosure have been completed that were not included in the previous analyses. One hundred forty-six randomized studies of experimental disclosure were collected and included in the present meta-analysis. Results of random effects analyses indicate that experimental disclosure is effective, with a positive and significant average r-effect size of .075. In addition, a number of moderators were identified.
Opening up by writing it down: The healing power of expressive writing
  • J W Pennebaker
  • J Smyth
Written emotional expression: Effect sizes, outcome types, and moderating variables
  • J M Smyth
  • Pennebaker J. W.
  • Pennebaker J. W.
  • Smyth J. M.