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A social integration perspective on expressive writing : how the perceived relationship between writer and reader affects outcomes

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Item Summary

Title: A social integration perspective on expressive writing : how the perceived relationship between writer and reader affects outcomes
Authors: Wisner, Amy Marie
Keywords: expressive writing
Issue Date: Aug 2011
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2011]
Abstract: Recent research suggests that the expressive writing paradigm, which was assumed to be anonymous and intrapersonal, may actually be a communicative and social event. The social integration theory of expressive writing assumes participants increase interactions with their social networks resulting in psychological and physical health improvements. The present study tests the idea that social integration is invoked at the moment the writer perceives the presence of another person (e.g., a reader) in the expressive writing process. Based on the salience of one's social network in instantiating the perception of emotional support, it can be expected that participants who write for a relationally close reader (i.e., close friend or romantic partner) would report stronger and more numerous health outcomes than participants who write for a non-relational reader (e.g., a researcher). Thus, the goal of this study was to investigate how perceived relational differences between writer and reader may affect expressive writing outcomes. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions designed to induce perceived relational differences with their readers. A third group served as the control. Depression, interpersonal sensitivity, physical health, cognitive intrusions and avoidance were measured. Findings successfully replicated psychological improvements and fell just shy of significance for cognitive benefits. Physical health benefits, however, were not replicated. Additionally, though the findings were not sufficient to reject the null hypotheses, this study poses important theoretical questions regarding the boundaries the social integration theory of expressive writing. Practically, it informs researchers and clinicians of the potential importance of treating expressive writing as a communicative event.
Description: M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:M.A. - Speech

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