The narratives of mothers are usually not expressed through cultural and national memories. In addition, the psychological theories insist on defining motherhood and subjectivity from the point of view of the developing child. The term “subjective motherhood” enables us to attempt to describe and theorize maternal subjectivity in this complicated and contradictory sense. The aim of this research is to create a wide enough concept of motherhood subjectivity in order to contain the motherhood experience as a process of creating identity and meaning. The blog “this is the way I am” is the room of Pema, a 49 year old Israeli mother and the author of a weblog. The written narratives in her blog reflect the dialogue between the mental dimensions of rememory and meaning. Through the writing process, Pema is giving narrative birth to her subjective identity as a mother. Writing a blog gave Pema the most precious thing she owns, the story of her subjectivity.
Expressive writing is a therapeutic intervention requiring individuals to write about distressing events and their emotional responses to these experiences (Pennebaker & Beall, 1986). The use of expressive writing has improved behavioural, physiological, and psychological outcomes in many populations, including individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005). Greater self-disclosure on such writing tasks has been associated with higher perceived benefits and helpfulness (Brewin & Lennard, 1999). Researchers have investigated how expressive writing protocols can be utilized online to increase levels of self-disclosure when writing about traumatic experiences and, consequently, improve PTSD symptom outcomes. Researchers have not yet assessed for modality-based differences (e.g., typed vs. hand-written expressive writing) for therapeutic efficacy or emotional engagement. The present investigation examined whether 1) typed and hand-written expressive writing equally reduced PTSD symptoms; and 2) emotional engagement affected the efficacy of expressive writing in reducing PTSD symptoms. A community and student sample (n = 29) with clinically significant PTSD symptoms completed the trial. Participants were randomized to one of four conditions with different writing modalities (i.e., typed or hand-written) and paradigms (i.e., control or expressive writing). In one session, participants were administered three 15-minute writing tasks and self-report questionnaires evaluating aspects of emotion (i.e., recognition, expression, trait negative emotionality) and PTSD symptom severity. An optional 7-day follow-up questionnaire re-evaluating PTSD symptom severity was also administered to participants. Each experimental group had non-significant decreases in PTSD symptoms from pre- to post-intervention, these
changes being dependant on pre-intervention symptom severity; however, alexithymia, i
dissociation (i.e., attentional dissociation and dissociative amnesia), negative affect, emotional approach coping, and the presence of a learning disability did affect symptom changes, and when these factors were considered the experimental conditions significantly differed in their effect on symptom outcomes. In conclusion, findings of the current trial suggest that a day-intensive session of expressive writing neither reduces PTSD symptoms nor differs in efficacy based on its method of completion unless emotional engagement with the task is considered. Further investigation into how learning disabilities and emotional predispositions affect engagement with expressive writing is warranted to clarify its efficacy in clinical PTSD populations.
J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2016 Jul-Sep;15(3):252-267. Epub 2015 Sep 30.
The present study evaluates the relationships between shame, culture, and drinking behavior in predicting drinking intentions in the context of an expressive writing intervention. Theory and empirical findings have generally found that shame is maladaptive and can lead to anxiety, depression, and problematic alcohol use. However, research on cultural differences suggests that shame may be differentially damaging to individuals of collectivist, Asian cultures. Previous research evaluating expressive writing as a brief alcohol intervention has shown promising results such as reduced drinking intentions and increased readiness to change drinking behavior. The present study tested the hypothesis that feelings of shame after writing about a negative heavy drinking event would be associated with greater alcohol use generally and that this effect would differ for Caucasian compared to Asian individuals. We also explored whether this differed for light and heavy drinkers. Two hundred sixty-four undergraduates (74% female) who drank at least one alcoholic beverage in the past month completed measures of demographics, baseline drinking, event-related shame and guilt, pre- and postwriting affect, and drinking intentions. Results revealed that, independent of affect, social desirability, and event-related guilt, shame was generally negatively associated with drinking intentions for Caucasians and light drinking Asians. However, for heavy drinking Asians, shame was associated with increased drinking intentions. Results suggest that interventions that elicit shame are differentially effective and should be targeted accordingly.
Appl Nurs Res. 2016 Nov;32:269-274. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2016.08.005. Epub 2016 Aug 21.
Resourcefulness, a set of cognitive and behavioral skills used to attain, maintain, or regain health, is a factor related to depressive symptoms in mothers of children with chronic conditions and complex care needs who are dependent on medical technology such as mechanical ventilation or feeding tubes. The purpose of this secondary analysis of a randomized, controlled pilot intervention study was to determine the feasibility, acceptability and fidelity of daily journal writing as a method of reinforcement of resourcefulness training (RT) that teaches the use of social and personal resourcefulness skills. Participants returned their journals to the study office at the end of the four-week journaling exercise. Content analysis from exit interviews and journals supported the feasibility, acceptability and fidelity of daily journaling for reinforcement of RT in this population. Journal writing can be used by pediatric nurses to reinforce and promote resourcefulness skill use in parents of technology-dependent children.