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Emotion. 2008 Apr;8(2):302-6. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.8.2.302.

Expressive writing buffers against maladaptive rumination.

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  • 1National Center for PTSD, Behavioral Science Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA 02130, USA. denise.sloan@va.gov

Abstract

This study examined whether ruminative style moderated the effects of expressive writing. Sixty-nine participants were assessed for ruminative style and depression symptoms at the beginning of their 1st college semester. Participants were then randomized to either an expressive writing or a control writing condition. Changes in depression symptoms were assessed 2, 4, and 6 months later. Results showed that a brooding ruminative style moderated the effects of expressive writing such that among those assigned to the expressive writing condition, individuals with greater brooding scores reported significantly fewer depression symptoms at all of the follow-up assessments relative to individuals with lower brooding scores. In contrast, reflective pondering ruminative style did not moderate the effects of expressive writing on depression symptoms. These findings suggest that expressive writing could be used as a means of reducing depression symptoms among those with a maladaptive ruminative tendency to brood.

(Copyright) 2008 APA.

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