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Volume 6, 2011 – Issue 3
Volume 26, 2012 – Issue 1
Meaningfulness and integrative processing of expressive writing may influence the effect of expressive writing. Participants completed measures of positive affect, negative affect and life satisfaction before and after an expressive writing intervention. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four expressive writing instruction conditions, which combined higher and lower levels of meaning and integrative processing instructions. Meaningfulness and integrative processing instructions had significant effects in increasing positive affect and there was a significant interaction between meaningfulness instructions and integrative processing instructions; participants in the high meaningfulness and high integrative processing instruction condition showed the greatest increase in positive affect. Meaningfulness had a significant effect in decreasing negative affect. The intervention did not influence life satisfaction. Both meaningfulness and integrative processing instructions led to more self-reported personal meaningfulness of the writing and more cognitive, emotional, behavioural and situational changes. More self-reported meaningfulness of the writing and more cognitive, emotional, behavioural and situational changes made as a result of the writing were in turn associated with greater increases in positive affect. The results of the study affirm the importance of meaningfulness and processing in expressive writing and potentially provide information regarding how to increase the effectiveness of expressive writing.