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Keywords:

  • experiential self-focus writing;
  • unforgiveness;
  • negative affect;
  • anger rumination;
  • latent growth curve analysis

Objectives

This study examined the effects of experiential self-focus writing on changes in psychological outcomes (i.e., unforgiveness and negative affect) after an interpersonal hurt and the buffering effects of experiential self-focus writing on the association between anger rumination and these psychological outcomes.

Design

A sample of 182 college students who had experienced interpersonal hurt were randomly assigned to either the experiential self-focus writing condition, in which participants wrote about their feelings and experiences related to the hurt, or to a control writing condition in which they wrote about a recent neutral event.

Results

Latent growth curve analyses indicated that changes in unforgiveness over time did not differ between the experiential self-focus writing and the control writing conditions. However, relative to the control writing condition, negative affect decreased faster during writing and increased more slowly at follow-ups in the experiential self-focus writing condition.

Conclusions

The results supported the hypothesis that negative affect resulting from an interpersonal hurt would significantly decrease over time among participants in the experiential self-focus writing group compared with the control group. Implications of experiential self-focus writing for interpersonal hurt and directions for future studies are discussed.