22. Sharing One’s Story: On the benefits of writing or talking about emotional experience
• Coping with emotional upheavals is rooted in people’s apparent need to talk with others
after a distressing event. It has long been argued that the self-disclosure of upsetting
experiences serves as a basic human motive.
• Beneficial health outcomes come from writing about trauma as measured by basic
biological processes related to immune functioning and positive influences on behaviour.
• Intervention strategy: writing about traumatic event
• Mediators/moderators/ overall parameters of relationship:Authors explored the
differential effects of writing versus talking about trauma, the topic of disclosure, time
span of writing tasks, audience affects (via actual or implied feedback), individual
differences in personality type and story-making abilities, and educational, linguistic, and
• Classification: Primary because the population identified has not been otherwise
identified as having an illness but its goal is to reduce the prevalence of physical illness in
the population. Universal because population targeted includes any participants in a
subgroup (students) and these participants were not determined to be at risk for anything.
• Putting upsetting experiences into words allows people to stop inhibiting their thoughts
and feelings, to begin to organize their thoughts and perhaps find meaning in their
traumas, and to reintegrate into their social networks.
• Writing about traumatic experiences can have significant health benefits, in a sense, our
paradigm encourages participants to dwell on the misery in their lives. We are essentially
bringing inhibited or secret negative emotions to the forefront. This can be an anxiety-
provoking experience; many participants cry and report feeling greater sadness,
depression, frustration and guilt in the short run. In fact, emotional state after wr