9. Written Emotional Disclosure

  1. Maggie Watson2,3,4 and
  2. David W. Kissane5,6
  1. Robert Zachariae and
  2. Mikael Birkelund Jensen-Johansen

Published Online: 20 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470975176.ch9

Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care

Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care

How to Cite

Zachariae, R. and Jensen-Johansen, M. B. (2011) Written Emotional Disclosure, in Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care (eds M. Watson and D. W. Kissane), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470975176.ch9

Editor Information

  1. 2

    The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PT, UK

  2. 3

    Institute of Cancer Research, London, WCIE 6BT, UK

  3. 4

    Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, WCIE 6BT, UK

  4. 5

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA

  5. 6

    Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA

Author Information

  1. Psychooncology Research Unit, Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital and Department of Psychology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 3 JUN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470660034

Online ISBN: 9780470975176



  • emotional expression;
  • non-expression;
  • expressive writing intervention;
  • psychological adjustment to cancer;
  • cancer-related distress;
  • psychological intervention


Research indicating that the willingness, ability and opportunity to express cancer-related concerns may influence cancer patients' adjustment to the stressors associated with cancer suggests that interventions promoting emotional disclosure may have beneficial effects on psychological adjustment to the cancer experience. Expressive Writing Intervention (EWI) is a potentially cost-effective brief structured written emotional disclosure procedure with beneficial effects on psychological and physical health outcomes in both healthy and clinical populations. In this chapter, the rationale and the currently available evidence for EWI will be reviewed, both for EWI in general and for EWI for cancer patients in particular. Recommendations based on the available evidence will be proposed, together with suggestions for procedures with cancer patients.