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Does Writing Reduce Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms?

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 18 Issue: 5 Dated: October 2003 Pages: 569-580
Pamela B. Deters; Lillian M. Range
Roland D. Maiuro Ph.D.
Date Published
October 2003
12 pages
This study examined the impact of writing on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms with the expectation that writing about trauma, at follow-up would lessen PTSD.
Past research has shown that individuals who wrote about any past or current trauma improved in physiological functioning more than those who only wrote about a trivial topic. This writing paradigm may be very useful for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To see if writing about their trauma lessened PTSD and other related symptoms, this study examined 57 undergraduates, previously screened for traumatic experiences, who wrote for 15 minutes on 4 days across 2 weeks about either their trauma or a trivial topic. The participants completed both a Screening Questionnaire and a Demographic Questionnaire. Several measurement scales were used which included the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale, Impact of Event Scale-Revised, the Suicide Ideation Scale, the Self-Rating Depression Scale, and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale. The results indicate that everyone’s PTSD symptoms, impact, dissociation symptoms, and health visits dropped over the 8 weeks from pre-testing to follow-up. Depression and suicidal ideas stayed about the same. The results are consistent with other research in showing that writing about trauma helps. References