“Rememory” and meaning: the narrative of a mother giving birth to her own subjective identity through weblog writing

Pages 84-94 | Received 16 May 2016, Accepted 11 Jul 2016, Published online: 15 Dec 2016

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.


Cogniţie, Creier, Comportament / Cognition, Brain, Behavior
Copyright © 2008 Romanian Association for Cognitive Science. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1224-8398
Volume XII, No.1 (March), 115 – 129


The main purpose of the present study was to investigate the possible positive effects of the Expressive Writing paradigm on a sample of Romanian female cancer patients. The major tenet of this paradigm is that if individuals with high levels of distress express in writing, for three or four consecutive writing sessions, their deepest thoughts and emotions regarding the activating event and its consequences, on the follow-up assessment they would experience significantly lower levels of distress, and improved physical and/or psychological functioning. Our study has evinced, that the participants of the sample we investigated has experienced at the follow-up assessment significantly lower levels of distress, and significantly higher levels of positive meaning in life and benefit finding, however, the results may depend on the pre-intervention levels of depression. Nevertheless, the Expressive Writing task has not significantly contributed in our sample to the enhancement of the levels of positive emotions.



Expressive Writing Can Impede Emotional Recovery Following Marital Separation.

Clin Psychol Sci. 2013 Mar 18;1(2):120-134.

Sbarra DA1, Boals A2, Mason AE1, Larson GM1, Mehl MR1.

Marital separation and divorce are common life events that increases risk for poor health outcomes, yet few intervention studies explore how to mitigate this increased risk. This study implemented an expressive writing (EW; see Pennebaker, 1997) intervention for adults who experienced a recent marital separation. Ninety participants (32 men) were randomly assigned to and completed one of three experimental writing tasks: traditional EW, a novel (narrative-based) type of EW or control writing. Up to nine months after this writing, participants judged to be actively engaged in a search for meaning concerning their separation reported significantly worse emotional outcomes when assigned to either EW condition relative to control writing. Within the control condition, those participants actively engaged in a search for meaning reported the lowest levels of separation-related disturbance. We discuss these results in terms of the factors that may limit and promote psychological recovery following marital separation.


The effect of meaningfulness and integrative processing in expressive writing on positive and negative affect and life satisfaction

Cognition and Emotion

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.

Writing content predicts benefit from written expressive disclosure: Evidence for repeated exposure and self-affirmation


Cognition and Emotion

Volume 30, 2016 – Issue 2


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Pages 258-274




Expressive disclosure regarding a stressful event improves psychological and physical health, yet predictors of these effects are not well established. The current study assessed exposure, narrative structure, affect word use, self-affirmation and discovery of meaning as predictors of anxiety, depressive and physical symptoms following expressive writing. Participants (N = 50) wrote on four occasions about a stressful event and completed self-report measures before writing and three months later. Essays were coded for stressor exposure (level of detail and whether participants remained on topic), narrative structure, self-affirmation and discovery of meaning. Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software was used to quantify positive and negative affect word use. Controlling for baseline anxiety, more self-affirmation and detail about the event predicted lower anxiety symptoms, and more negative affect words (very high use) and more discovery of meaning predicted higher anxiety symptoms three months after writing. Findings highlight the importance of self-affirmation and exposure as predictors of benefit from expressive writing.