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J Behav Med. 2008 Jun;31(3):201-12. doi: 10.1007/s10865-008-9149-4. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Effects of written anger expression in chronic pain patients: making meaning from pain.

Author information

1
Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, 315 East Health & Human Development Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA. jeg32@psu.edu

Abstract

Based on prior research demonstrating benefits of emotional disclosure for chronically ill individuals and evidence that anger is particularly problematic in chronic pain sufferers, outpatients from a chronic pain center (N=102) were randomly assigned to express their anger constructively or to write about their goals non-emotionally in a letter-writing format on two occasions. Letters were coded for degree of expressed anger and meaning-making (speculation and insight into conditions that precipitated anger). Over a 9 week period, participants in the anger-expression group (n=51) experienced greater improvement in control over pain and depressed mood, and marginally greater improvement in pain severity than the control group (n=51). Degree of expressed anger uniquely accounted for intervention effects and meaning-making mediated effects on depressed mood. These findings suggest that expressing anger may be helpful for chronic pain sufferers, particularly if it leads to meaning-making.

PMID:
18320302
DOI:
10.1007/s10865-008-9149-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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