Volume 21, 2006 – Issue 5
An intriguing question within the expressive writing literature is whether writing interventions that focus on positive aspects of adverse experiences can produce health benefits, particularly among individuals with serious physical illness. Seventy-five adults with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis were randomly assigned to one of three 4-session writing interventions: benefit finding (BF), standard expressive writing (EW), or a control group. Follow-up questionnaires were completed one and three months later. At three months, fatigue was lower in the BF and EW groups than in the control group. BF appeared effective in reducing pain levels for participants with high trait anxiety, whereas EW appeared effective for participants with low trait anxiety. No significant group effects were found for psychological functioning or disability. Results are discussed with regard to the literature on BF and EW among medical patients.