Abstract and Keywords

This paper presents a broad overview of the expressive writing paradigm. Since its first use in the 1980s, dozens of studies have explored the parameters and boundary conditions of its effectiveness. In the laboratory, consistent and significant health improvements are found when individuals write or talk about personally upsetting experiences. The effects include both subjective and objective markers of health and well-being. The disclosure phenomenon appears to generalize across settings, many individual difference factors, and several Western cultures, and is independent of social feedback.

Keywords: Mental health, language, expressive writing, trauma, emotional upheaval, cognitive change

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