Reference : How does expressive writing take effect? Differential mechanisms of writing about str...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Treatment & clinical psychology
Human health sciences : Psychiatry
How does expressive writing take effect? Differential mechanisms of writing about stressful life events
Niedtfeld, Inga [Zent Inst Seel Gesundheit, Klin Psychosomat & Psychotherapeut Med, D-6800 Mannheim, Germany.]
Schmidt, Alexander F. mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE)]
Scholz, O. Berndt [Univ Bonn, Abt Klin & Angew Psychol, Inst Psychol, D-5300 Bonn, Germany.]
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
[en] expressive writing ; disclosure ; coping ; emotion regulation ; self-efficacy
[en] 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.

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