Physical and psychological effects of written disclosure among sexual abuse survivors
Although numerous studies demonstrate the efficacy of writing about stressful events on measures of participants' health, most studies have included psychologically and physically healthy participants. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether writing about stressful or traumatic events would have the same effect with participants who had experienced a significant trauma. The physical and psychological impact of writing about child sexual abuse (CSA) experiences or time management was examined in 61 women (mean age 35.0) who reported a CSA history. Participants completed biweekly telephone interviews for 12 weeks after writing, as well as 12-week follow-up questionnaires. The results indicate that writing about CSA history alone is not sufficient to provide psychological or physical health benefits. As these results diverge from the extant literature, possible reasons for these findings are discussed, along with implications for writing interventions with survivors of significant traumas.
Batten, Sonja V.; Follette, Victoria M.; Rasmussen Hall, Mandra L.; and Palm, Kathleen M., "Physical and psychological effects of written disclosure among sexual abuse survivors" (2002). Psychology. 606.