Writing about emotions versus goals: Effects on hostility and medical care utilization moderated by emotional approach coping processes
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2008 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Health Psychology
Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 35–38, February 2008
How to Cite
Austenfeld, J. L. and Stanton, A. L. (2008), Writing about emotions versus goals: Effects on hostility and medical care utilization moderated by emotional approach coping processes. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13: 35–38. doi: 10.1348/135910707X250857
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 6 July 2007; revised version received 29 September 2007
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.