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Expressive Writing to Cope with Hate Speech: Assessing Psychobiological Stress Recovery and Forgiveness Promotion for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Queer Victims of Hate Speech



This study examined whether expressive writing could help lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer (LGBQ) hate speech victims increase forgiveness for offenders, and accelerate cortisol recovery following a discussion task in which they recalled the details of their experiences. Participants (N = 46) were assigned to a benefit-finding, traumatic disclosure writing, or control condition. The findings indicate that benefit-finding promoted forgiveness and reduced cortisol values, whereas traumatic disclosure writing only accelerated cortisol recovery. Analyses of the linguistic features of victims' narratives revealed that the amount of emotion-related words related to cortisol recovery, whereas the greater use of cognitive words was related with forgiveness. Implications for theory, methodological comparison, and future research are discussed.