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Title: Developing an expressive writing intervention for people with chronic fatigue syndrome
Author: Domenech, C.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2004
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Expressive writing has been shown to improve health outcomes in a variety of populations, from healthy college students to people with rheumatoid arthritis. A number of hypotheses have been suggested to account for these beneficial effects, but the precise mechanism of action underlying expressive writing has yet to be established. Positive outcomes obtained in studies with clinical populations, have led to the question of whether expressive writing could be helpful for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This study aimed to pilot an expressive writing intervention for people with CFS and to explore their experience of the intervention. It aimed to investigate the feasibility, acceptability and perceived helpfulness of the intervention, and attempted to shed light on its possible mechanism of action. Nine patients were recruited from a specialist CFS clinic. They were asked to write about an emotionally upsetting or traumatic experience, for twenty minutes, once a week, for four consecutive weeks. Following the expressive writing intervention, they participated in a semi-structured interview to explore their experience. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyse the transcribed interviews. Expressive writing was found to be both feasible and acceptable to the people with CFS in this study. Participants reported that overall the home-based writing intervention had been helpful and had provided them with a possible coping strategy for the future. They articulated how they thought the writing had made a difference and from this three possible mechanisms of action were proposed, including emotional expression, behavioural activation and cognitive organisation. These findings lend support to the notion that there may be more than one mechanism of action underlying the beneficial effects of writing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available