Psychol Rep. 2015 Dec;117(3):856-82. doi: 10.2466/02.13.PR0.117c29z3. Epub 2015 Nov 23.
This study investigated whether an Expressive Writing intervention decreased depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms after childbirth. 113 women (M age = 31.26 yr., SD = 4.42) were assessed at Time 1 for depression (Beck Depression Inventory) and PTS (Perinatal PTSD Questionnaire) in the first days after childbirth, then randomized to either expressive writing or neutral writing conditions and reassessed at Time 2, 3 months later. The results (ANCOVAs, regression models) show that at 3 mo. depressive and posttraumatic symptoms were lower in women who performed the expressive writing task than in the neutral writing group. Moreover, the intervention condition was associated significantly with decreased depression at the high and at the mean levels of baseline depression at Time 1. Regarding PTSD, the results showed that the intervention condition was linked significantly to reductions of the symptoms at all levels of baseline PTSD. Mainly, these outcomes suggest that Expressive Writing can be a helpful early and low-cost universal intervention to prevent postpartum distress for women.