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Objectives. The study compared emotionally disclosive writing and writing about goals as the ‘best possible self’ to a control condition and evaluated coping through emotional processing (EP) and expression (EE) as moderators of effects at 1-month follow-up.

Method. Undergraduates (N = 63) were randomly assigned to emotional disclosure (EMO), best possible self (BPS), or a control condition (CTL). Outcomes were hostility, medical visits, depressive symptoms, physical symptoms, and blood pressure.

Results. At 1 month, hostility decreased in high-EP participants in EMO relative to BPS and decreased in low-EP participants in BPS relative to EMO. Low-EP participants had fewer medical visits in BPS, whereas high-EP participants had more visits in BPS relative to other conditions.

Conclusions. Benefits may accrue when the expressive task is matched to the individual's preferred coping strategy.