Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Lafreniere, Kathryn,


Psychology, Clinical.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


The present study investigated the effects of an emotional disclosure writing task on the physical and psychological functioning of preteen and adolescent children of alcoholics (N = 53). It was hypothesized that writing about stressful events would have significant physical and psychological health benefits. Physical and psychological health were assessed with measures of strength and difficulties, internalizing symptoms, affect, and physical symptoms. These measures were administered at baseline and again at follow-up. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: an emotional writing group (N1 = 18) who wrote about their thoughts and feelings with respect to stressful events, a non-emotional writing group (N2 = 19) who wrote descriptions of non-emotional events, or a non-writing control group (N3 = 16). Participants in the writing groups wrote for a period of 25 minutes on each of three consecutive days. There was evidence that the intervention was effectively executed as the essays written by participants in both the emotional and non-emotional conditions differed significantly in content in the hypothesized ways. Contradictory to the major hypothesis, emotional disclosure failed to convey any additional health benefits. A general improvement was found for all groups over time on internalizing symptoms, affect, and physical symptoms. Analysis of gender and age differences uncovered some noteworthy findings. The current study indicated that it is beneficial to have young people participate in studies in which they are given an opportunity to think about how they act and feel.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2001 .G35. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 40-06, page: 1618. Adviser: Kathryn Lafreniere. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2001.