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Effects of (very) brief writing on health: The two-minute miracle


Correspondence should be addressed to Professor Laura A. King, Department of Psychological Sciences, 210 McAlester Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA (e-mail:


This study tested the lower boundary of the dosage required to garner health benefits from written emotional expression. Participants wrote about either a personal trauma, a positive life experience, or a control topic for 2 minutes each day for 2 days. Emotion word usage in the essays was examined and physical health complaints were measured 4–6 weeks after the last writing session. Trauma and positive experience essays contained more emotional content than the control essays and such content was of a similar percentage to that demonstrated by past research. Both the trauma and the positive experience conditions reported fewer health complaints at follow-up than the control condition.