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Seeing the glass half full: Optimistic expressive writing improves mental health among chronically stressed caregivers


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Corey S. Mackenzie, Ph.D., C. Psych., Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2 (e-mail:


Objectives. This study explored treatment mediators among caregivers of older adults who did not benefit from expressive writing in a recently published randomized clinical trial.

Methods. Twenty-seven expressive writing and time management participants completed questionnaires prior to writing, following their fourth writing session, and 1 month later. We examined the effect of group differences in linguistic markers on health improvements.

Results and conclusions. Our hypothesis concerning narrative development received no support, and expected links between function words and health were partially confirmed. Results most strongly supported the hypothesis that expressive writing benefited caregivers who used increasingly positive, optimistic, and future-focused language.