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Who benefits from emotional expression? An examination of personality differences among gynaecological cancer patients participating in a randomized controlled emotional disclosure intervention trial


Dr Sandra G. Zakowski, Department of Clinical Psychology, Argosy University, 225 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601, USA (e-mail:


The present study examined the role of neuroticism and extraversion in the effects of written emotional disclosure in patients diagnosed with gynaecological cancer. It was hypothesized that high levels of neuroticism would be associated with an increase in distress after emotional disclosure as mediated by heightened negative affect and avoidance post-disclosure. Conversely, we expected high extraversion to be associated with decreased distress as mediated by heightened positive moods and a decrease in avoidance. Eighty-eight participants were randomly assigned to participate in an expressive writing task versus a control writing task. Distress and avoidance were assessed at baseline and 6 months post-writing. Negative and positive mood were assessed immediately following writing. Multiple regression confirmed that neuroticism but not extraversion moderates the effects of emotional disclosure on distress, however no significant mediating relationships were found.