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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

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Abstract

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.

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