Effects of (very) brief writing on health: the two-minute miracle.

  title={Effects of (very) brief writing on health: the two-minute miracle.},
  author={Chad M. Burton and Laura A. King},
  journal={British journal of health psychology},
  volume={13 Pt 1},
This study tested the lower boundary of the dosage required to garner health benefits from written emotional expression. Participants wrote about either a personal trauma, a positive life experience, or a control topic for 2 minutes each day for 2 days. Emotion word usage in the essays was examined and physical health complaints were measured 4-6 weeks after the last writing session. Trauma and positive experience essays contained more emotional content than the control essays and such content… 

Figures from this paper

A randomized trial of written emotional disclosure interventions in school teachers: Controlling for positive expectancies and effects on health and job satisfaction

The findings show that control writing can produce comparable expectations of benefit to WED, and are consistent with the possibility that benefit expectancies can effect health improvements following disclosure or control writing.

The Therapeutic Value of Asemic Writing: A Qualitative Exploration

ABSTRACT Asemic or asemantic writing is a style of written self-expression that can be advantageous when working with individuals who have no words for feelings. The purpose of the present study was

Emotional reactivity to grief-related expressive writing

Results revealed no main effect of the positive writing condition on mood change, however, greater positive emotion word use mediated positive affect among those in the positiveWriting condition.

A Current Paradigm : Written Emotional Disclosure

It has been supposed for years that expressing feelings and thoughts about stressful or traumatic events is helpful for health. In this regard, Pennebaker developed “Written Emotional Disclosure

The impact of an emotionally expressive writing intervention on eating pathology in female students

Emotionally expressive writing may reduce the risk of dietary restraint in women but these findings should be accepted with caution.

The impact of an emotionally expressive writing intervention on eating pathology in female students

Introduction: Previous research demonstrating emotional in fl uences on eating and weight suggest that emotionally expressive writing may have a signi fi cant impact on reducing risk of eating

Effects of Emotional Disclosure in Caregivers: Moderating Role of Alexithymia

Caregivers have been found to experience high levels of depression and anxiety. This study explored the efficacy of two writing interventions aimed at reducing psychological distress in informal

The Effects of Negative Emotion and Expressive Writing on Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms

Trait negative emotion has been identified as a potential moderator of the effect of expressive writing on symptoms of posttraumatic stress. The goal of this study was to investigate whether

The Event-Specific Benefits of Writing About a Difficult Life Experience

The results indicated that experimental participants were emotionally stronger, less upset, and less cognitively avoidant about the particular difficult life event they wrote about compared to an event they did not write about.



The Health Benefits of Writing about Life Goals

In a variation on Pennebaker’s writing paradigm, a sample of 81 undergraduates wrote about one of four topics for 20 minutes each day for 4 consecutive days. Participants were randomly assigned to

The health benefits of writing about intensely positive experiences

Putting Stress into Words: The Impact of Writing on Physiological, Absentee, and Self-Reported Emotional Well-Being Measures

A unique approach to aid individuals in dealing with psychological and emotional issues that they must often face and the proposed writing strategy offers a unique tool for health promotion practitioners is described.

Cognitive, Emotional, and Language Processes in Disclosure

Previous studies have found that writing about upsetting experiences can improve physical health. In an attempt to explain this phenomenon, 72 first-year college students were randomly assigned to

Written emotional expression: effect sizes, outcome types, and moderating variables.

  • J. Smyth
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Journal of consulting and clinical psychology
  • 1998
This writing task was found to lead to significantly improved health outcomes in healthy participants and was enhanced in 4 outcome types--reported physical health, psychological well-being, physiological functioning, and general functioning--but health behaviors were not influenced.

Writing about the Perceived Benefits of Traumatic Events: Implications for Physical Health

Research by Pennebaker and his colleagues supports the healing power of writing about traumatic events. This study explored the importance of writing about the perceived benefits of traumatic events

The costs and benefits of writing, talking, and thinking about life's triumphs and defeats.

Students who wrote about their happiest moments--especially when analyzing them--experienced reduced well-being and physical health relative to those who replayed these moments, and possible mechanisms underlying these effects were examined.

Expressive writing can increase working memory capacity.

A model grounded in cognitive and social psychological theory in which expressive writing reduces intrusive and avoidant thinking about a stressful experience, thus freeing WM resources is discussed.

Linguistic predictors of adaptive bereavement.

The words people use in disclosing a trauma were hypothesized to predict improvements in mental and physical health in 2 studies and Cognitive change and empirical models predicted postbereavement distress at 1 year are discussed.

Health complaints, stress, and distress: exploring the central role of negative affectivity.

Results demonstrate the importance of including different types of health measures in health psychology research, and indicate that self-report health measures reflect a pervasive mood disposition of negative affectivity (NA), which will act as a general nuisance factor in health research.