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Behav Res Ther. 2009 Jan;47(1):6-12. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2008.10.006. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

A randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of writing as a self-help intervention for traumatic injury patients at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1Stratford Locality, Mental Health Services, Building 2, 2nd Floor Arden Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom.


The study investigated the effects of writing and self-help information on severity of psychological symptoms in traumatic injury patients at risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients attending Accident and Emergency (A & E), were screened for Acute Stress Disorder and randomised to an information control group (n=36) or a writing and information group (n=31). Participants in both groups received an information booklet one-month post-injury. Participants in the writing group also wrote about emotional aspects of their trauma during three 20-min sessions, five to six weeks post-injury. Psychological assessments were completed within one month and at three and six months post-injury. There were significant improvements on measures of anxiety, depression and PTSD over time. Differences between groups on these measures were not statistically significant. However, subjective ratings of the usefulness of writing were high. In conclusion, the results do not currently support the use of writing as a targeted early intervention technique for traumatic injury patients at risk of developing PTSD.

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