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See detailHow does expressive writing take effect? Differential mechanisms of writing about stressful life events
Niedtfeld, Inga; Schmidt, Alexander F. UL; Scholz, O. Berndt

in VERHALTENSTHERAPIE (2008), 18(2), 91-99

Background: Research has proposed that writing about stressful events which encompasses disclosing thoughts and feelings concerning a stressful event can lead to improvements in measures of well-being and ... [more ▼]

Background: Research has proposed that writing about stressful events which encompasses disclosing thoughts and feelings concerning a stressful event can lead to improvements in measures of well-being and health. Original studies initiated by James Pennebaker [ Pennebaker and Beall, 1986] have demonstrated that this brief and parsimonious intervention can lead to beneficial effects, while the mechanisms behind these benefits from experimental disclosure are still not clarified. Subjects and Method: The present study investigated whether writing about stressful events would influence long-term measures of mood, depressive symptoms, symptoms following a stressful event, and self-reported health. Furthermore, two possible mechanisms to which benefits might be attributable, namely improvements in self-efficacy or healthy emotion regulation strategies, were examined. Results: The results indicate that writing diminishes hyperarousal and the occurrence of negative affect, but has no effect on the frequency of positive affect, or depressive symptoms. Self-efficacy and the use of different emotion regulation strategies cannot account for observed improvements in stress symptoms, albeit perceived intensity is proved to be a mediator. Conclusion: Expressive writing has more specific effects on coping with stress than supposed in early studies. [less ▲]

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