Hints - disclosure writing

Hints - disclosure writing - Some Suggestions for Running a...

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Some Suggestions for Running a Confession Study Having now run several versions of confession studies in different ways, there are a number of suggestions that I have that don't always come out clearly in an official write-up. I must admit that even I have been skeptical about the continued positive results that we have gotten in the studies involving longterm health that we have run. However, in talking with subjects and watching the entire procedure, I have come around to believing in the power of writing as a preventive therapy. Despite my optimism, I firmly believe that the success of the study hinges on the following things. The Experimental Context 1. Establishment of rapport with the subjects by the lead experimenter. All subjects who sign up for the study know that they may be asked to write about extremely personal topics. On the first pre-test day, they are again warned about the nature of the experiment and, among other things, sign a consent form giving us access to their medical records. Over and over again, we urge them not to participate if they have any qualms about the study. Interestingly, no one has ever backed out. The important issue is that they make a substantial commitment to participating in all phases of the experiment. During the random assignment to condition, the lead experimenter chats for 2-3 minutes with each subject before talking about the experiment. We try to convey a sense of grave importance of the study and our abiding concern for the subject. When we give the experimental instructions (which are included verbatim in the immune and the coming-to- college manuscripts), we try to be as intense and serious as possible. Our goal is to have the subjects walk out of the room with the belief that they are about to reveal their deepest secrets in an honest way. In a round-about way, I want to impress on you that this is not the kind of study where you read the instructions in a sing-song way. 2. Repeated meetings with the experimenter. On all four days in both trauma studies (and three days in the coming-to-college study), the subjects again met with the lead experimenter alone in his/her office. The same instructions that they had heard the day before were delivered. In every meeting, we pushed the subjects to continue to "get into" their writing as deeply as possible. By the way, I think that a study such as this works best if there are multiple writing sessions. I know three and four sessions work. A recent experiment by Ed Murray, Alicia Lamnin, and Chuck Carver (Psychology Department, University of Miami -- see their 1989 paper in Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology ) found promising effects for people who wrote two times, separated a week apart. Although the evidence is mixed, I think that you will get your best effects if the writing
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2011 for the course PSYCH 212 taught by Professor Dansullivan during the Spring '11 term at NYU.

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Hints - disclosure writing - Some Suggestions for Running a...

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