A test of written emotional disclosure as an intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder.

Behav Res Ther. 2011 Apr;49(4):299-304. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2011.02.001. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Sloan DM1, Marx BP, Greenberg EM.

This study examined the efficacy of the written emotional disclosure (WED) procedure with a sample of young adults who met diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants were randomly assigned to either WED or a control writing condition and were assessed at baseline and one month following the writing sessions. During each writing session, participants’ heart rate was recorded; participants also provided self-report ratings of emotional responding. Findings indicated no significant group differences for PTSD and depression symptom severity at follow-up assessment. Relative to control participants, WED participants displayed significantly greater heart rate activity and reported greater emotional responding during the first writing session; however, no reduction in emotional responding occurred for either condition from the first to the last writing session. Taken together, these findings indicate that WED may not be an efficacious intervention for PTSD. Suggestions are made for future work in this area.


‘Narrative expressive writing’ might protect against harmful health effects of divorce-related stress