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Emotional approach coping and self-efficacy moderate the effects of written emotional disclosure and relaxation training for people with migraine headaches


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Mark A. Lumley, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA (e-mail:


Objectives. We tested whether emotional skills and headache management self-efficacy (HMSE) moderated effects of written emotional disclosure (WED) compared with control writing and a different intervention, relaxation training (RT).

Design/methods. Undergraduates with migraine headaches reported emotional approach coping (EAC) and HMSE; were randomized to WED, RT, or control; and assessed on health measures at baseline and 3-month follow-up.

Results. Greater EAC predicted improvement following WED compared with RT and control, whereas low HMSE predicted improvement following both WED and RT, compared with control.

Conclusions. Emotional skill may specifically – and low health management self-efficacy may generally – predict positive responses to WED.