The good, the bad, and the healthy: impacts of emotional disclosure of trauma on resilient self-concept and psychological distress.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2003 Oct;29(10):1236-44.

Hemenover SH1.

This study examined the impact of disclosing traumas on resilient self-perceptions and psychological distress. Participants (N = 50) wrote about a traumatic life event or their plans for the next day and completed measures of resilience and distress before disclosing (pretest) and 3 months later (posttest). Results revealed that trauma participants increased in positive self-perceptions (mastery, personal growth, self-acceptance) and decreased in distress (depression, interpersonal sensitivity, anxiety, somatization) from pretest to posttest. Control participants showed no changes except for autonomy, on which they decreased. Results suggest that in addition to reducing psychological distress, disclosing traumas change self-perception, resulting in a more resilient self-concept.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15189585