Emotions Color Health Effects of Expressive Writing

Expressive writing, the art of putting individual thought and feeling on paper, has long been known to improve health and speed recovery. Now, a new study finds this effect may be influenced by the writer’s mental state at …

3 Comments to
Emotions Color Health Effects of Expressive Writing

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  1. As described, the study shows no benefit from writing. Tbe interetation suggests an effect from the pre-test interview. Plausible, but we need a non-interviewd group to draw that conclusion.

  2. I respectfully disagree with Selby’s conclusion. It seems to me that the study did confirm the positive results of “expressive writing”, although the researchers did hedge a bit by suggesting that the pre-writing interview may have affected the results. Where I do agree with Selby is the idea that we need a control group of non-interviewees to determine what if any effect the earlier interview may have had. Now to be totally nonscientific (drawing from a study of one: namely myself) I find it always eases my anxieties and other negative feelings to write in my journal, although focusing on more positive aspects of my day not surprisingly leaves me in a better mood than focusing on negative experiences. Nevertheless, I find that putting pen to paper helps me to calm my nerves and sort out my feelings, so I will continue my own “expressive writing” regardless of professional opinions!!

  3. Personally, I doubt any real conclusions can be successfully drawn from the write-up. Anyone who has dabbled in creative writing knows ““These results show that the effects of [emotional] expression are not fixed, but rather are dependent on the writer’s mental context at the time,” ” To me, this merely restates the already known aspects of writing: writers write what they feel. I would be interested in reading the actual study results, as I think the write-up missed a key point: it tells me nothing about how the emotions color any health effects of writing.

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