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Health Psychol. 2004 Nov;23(6):555-63.

Written emotional disclosure buffers the effects of social constraints on distress among cancer patients.

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  • 1Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Department of Psychology, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA.


The aims of the present study were to examine whether written emotional disclosure would reduce distress among cancer patients and whether it would buffer the effects of high levels of social constraint (negative social responses to patients' expressions of emotion regarding their cancer) on distress. Cancer patients (N=104) were randomly assigned to write about their emotions regarding their cancer 20 min a day for 3 days or to write about a nonemotional topic. They completed questionnaires at baseline and 6 months postintervention. Results showed that written disclosure buffered the effects of social constraints on stress at the 6-month follow-up and that avoidance partly mediated these effects. The present data reinforce the notion that interventions should be tailored to patients' needs.

((c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved).

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