How Does Insightful and Emotional Disclosure Bring Potential Health Benefits?: Study Based on Online Support Groups for Women with Breast Cancer.

J Commun. 2011 Jun;61(3):432-464.

Shim M1, Cappella JN2, Han JY3.



Despite much research on the beneficial effects of written disclosure, relatively little attention has been paid to specifying the mechanism underlying the effects. Building upon the two theoretical models (the cognitive adaptation model and the emotional exposure-habituation model), this research focused on two aspects of disclosure content—insights and emotions—and examined how women with breast cancer benefit from written disclosure in online support groups. Using survey data collected at baseline and after four months and messages posted in bulletin-board-type online groups in between, we analyzed how the content of disclosive messages predicted health outcomes. Disclosure of insights led to greater improvements in health self-efficacy, emotional well-being, and functional well-being, which was mediated by lowered breast cancer concerns. Disclosure of negative emotions did not have main effects on health outcomes; instead, it weakened the unfavorable association between concerns at baseline and functional well-being at follow-up. Our findings support both theoretical models, but in regard to different aspects of disclosure content.

Experimental disclosure and its moderators: a meta-analysis.

Psychol Bull. 2006 Nov;132(6):823-65.

Frattaroli J1.

PMID:17073523 DOI:10.1037/0033-2909.132.6.823


Disclosing information, thoughts, and feelings about personal and meaningful topics (experimental disclosure) is purported to have various health and psychological consequences (e.g., J. W. Pennebaker, 1993). Although the results of 2 small meta-analyses (P. G. Frisina, J. C. Borod, & S. J. Lepore, 2004; J. M. Smyth, 1998) suggest that experimental disclosure has a positive and significant effect, both used a fixed effects approach, limiting generalizability. Also, a plethora of studies on experimental disclosure have been completed that were not included in the previous analyses. One hundred forty-six randomized studies of experimental disclosure were collected and included in the present meta-analysis. Results of random effects analyses indicate that experimental disclosure is effective, with a positive and significant average r-effect size of .075. In addition, a number of moderators were identified.

Differential efficacy of written emotional disclosure for subgroups of fibromyalgia patients.

Br J Health Psychol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 Oct 8.
Published in final edited form as:


To identify differential health benefits of written emotional disclosure (ED).


Pain-coping style and demographic characteristics were examined as potential moderators of ED treatment efficacy in a randomized controlled trial with female fibromyalgia patients.


Of three pain-coping styles, only patients classified as interpersonally distressed (ID) experienced significant treatment effects on psychological well-being, pain, and fatigue. Treatment effects on psychological well-being were also significantly greater for patients with a high level of education.


Patients with an ID-coping style and/or high education appear to benefit most from ED.

Rescuing speech: Teaching a writing aesthetic for counseling practice

Pages 73-86 | Published online: 14 Jun 2010

This author locates and describes the narrative therapy practice of writing poetic documents, and outlines a process for teaching counselor education students to craft poetic documents. Rescued speech poems, as poetic documents, are crafted by a therapist using only “rescued speech,” that is only words that clients have spoken in therapy. Significant words are noted during therapy—rescued, on narrative therapy terms—and later arranged in poetic form by the counselor. The author describes the steps of a teaching process intended to support student counselors to develop linguistic attunement and a writing aesthetic. Illustrative examples of poetic documents written with rescued speech are offered. In these ways, the article contributes from a narrative therapy perspective to the wider field of poetry therapy.

Working Mechanisms of Expressive Writing – Focusing on the Linguistic Indicators Pronouns, Tense, and Emotion Words