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Title: The effect of written emotional disclosure on the health and psychosocial functioning of early adolescents
Author: Dean, Sarah Elizabeth
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2010
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A large amount of research has been conducted into the effects that written emotional disclosure (WED) has on adults' health and well being. Early meta-analyses (e.g. Smyth, 1998) indicated that WED had substantial effects on adults, however recent meta-analyses indicate the effect is small (Frattaroli, 2006) or nonexistent (Mogk, Otte, Reinhold-Hurley, & Kroner-Herwig, 2006). Little research has investigated the effects of WED on children and adolescents. The purpose of the current research was to test whether WED is an effective intervention for early adolescents. The aim of the research was to evaluate the overall effects of WED on adolescents' health and psychosocial functioning, to investigate moderators of the effects of WED, and to explore the content of the emotional writing. To meet these aims two longitudinal studies were conducted. In each study, questionnaires to measure health and psychosocial functioning were administered to participants, aged 12- 13, at baseline. Participants were assigned to a no writing control, factual writing control or emotional writing group. Writing was completed once a week for 3 weeks. The questionnaires were completed again one week after the final writing session and a further 2 months later. Across both studies the writing manipulation was successful: participants in the emotional writing group used more words indicating cognitive and affective processing than participants in the factual writing group did. However, WED was found to have no effects on any of the outcome measures. Moreover, the hypothesised moderators generally did not moderate the effects of WED. A. thematic analysis of the emotional transcripts from Study 2 revealed the perceived purpose of the writing was an important issue to be considered in WED interventions. Together, the results from these studies suggest that WED is not a suitable intervention for early adolescents. It is suggested that adolescents may benefit from alternative interventions and that such interventions should be situated within the curriculum to make them more relevant to teachers, parents and students
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available