Week+6+required+King++2006++best+possible+self

Week+6+required+King++2006++best+possible+self -...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

Bulletin Personality and Social Psychology The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/0146167201277003 2001 27: 798 Pers Soc Psychol Bull Laura A. King The Health Benefits of Writing about Life Goals Published by: On behalf of: Society for Personality and Social Psychology can be found at: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Additional services and information for Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: Citations: at CALIFORNIA DIGITAL LIBRARY on July 19, 2010 psp.sagepub.com Downloaded from
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN King / WRITING ABOUT LIFE GOALS The Health Benefits of Writing About Life Goals Laura A. King Southern Methodist University In a variation on Pennebaker’s writing paradigm, a sample of 81 undergraduates wrote about one of four topics for 20 minutes each day for 4 consecutive days. Participants were randomly assigned to write about their most traumatic life event, their best possible future self, both of these topics, or a nonemotional con- trol topic. Mood was measured before and after writing and health center data for illness were obtained with participant con- sent. Three weeks later, measures of subjective well-being were obtained. Writing about life goals was significantly less upset- ting than writing about trauma and was associated with a sig- nificant increase in subjective well-being. Five months after writ- ing, a significant interaction emerged such that writing about trauma, one’s best possible self, or both were associated with decreased illness compared with controls. Results indicate that writing about self-regulatory topics can be associated with the same health benefits as writing about trauma. T he health benefits associated with disclosive writing have been demonstrated in a number of studies by a vari- ety of investigators (Smyth, 1998). Typically, these stud- ies have involved asking participants to write about emo- tionally upsetting life events over the course of a few days. Such writing has been shown to relate to superior immune function (Esterling, Antoni, Fletcher, Margulies, & Schneiderman, 1994; Pennebaker, Kiecolt- Glaser, & Glaser, 1988; Petrie, Booth, Pennebaker, & Davison, 1995), reduced health problems (e.g., Greenberg & Stone, 1992; Pennebaker & Beall, 1986), lower skin conductance levels (Pennebaker, Hughes, & O’Heeron, 1987), better adjustment to college (Cameron & Nicholls, 1998; Pennebaker, Colder, & Sharp, 1990), and more quickly finding employment after being laid off (Spera, Buhrfeind, & Pennebaker, 1994). Recently, studies have begun to incorporate dif- ferent writing instructions, obtaining similarly salubrious effects. For instance, Greenberg, Wortman, and Stone (1996) found that even writing about an imagined trauma once for 20 minutes provided health benefits.
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern