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Writing about significant events in one’s life can result in a number of psychological and physiological benefits, including fewer health center visits, increased positive mood, and improved coping skills. This project reviews the existing literature about expressive writing, a technique that traditionally instructs its users to describe their thoughts and feelings about a prior traumatic experience over the course of several days. Several theoretical interpretations may explain how written disclosure contributes to mental and physical well-being: the foremost of these are the cognitive-processing, emotion regulation, and exposure models of expressive writing. The application of expressive writing to clinical populations is discussed; in particular, the author proposes an experimental design to test the efficacy of expressive writing for individuals with first onset of major depression. Areas requiring further research are also reviewed, including longitudinal study of expressive writing and comparison of dependent outcomes across different writing techniques. Overall, expressive writing appears to confer a number of benefits and shows promise for application to clinical populations.
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Kaufmann, Amanda, "The Expressive Writing Paradigm: Theory and Clinical Applications for First Onset of Major Depression" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 221.