Date of Award

10-19-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Pascual-Leone, Antonio

Keywords

emotional development, emotional processing, expressive writing, trauma

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

In the current study, the aim was to explore whether certain types of emotions that emerge in participants’ personal narratives of past traumatic events are associated with subsequent improvement in emotional well-being following expressive writing. The sample was archival data consisting of 255 undergraduate students. Participants’ narrative material was coded for the presence of key emotions. Participants’ psychological well-being was assessed at baseline, and at 17 and 31 days post-intervention. Participants were observed to evidence different key emotional states that were differentially associated with symptom distress. No relationship was observed between expressions of different emotions and participants’ subsequent emotional development. Findings suggest that participants do not always adhere to writing instructions; personal narratives are revealing of symptom distress; and repeated writing, emotional or non-emotional, may enhance emotional well-being in general.

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