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J Clin Psychol. 2017 Dec;73(12):1586-1598. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22463. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

Maintaining Mental Health Through Positive Writing: Effects of a Resource Diary on Depression and Emotion Regulation.

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Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena.



The present study investigated the beneficial effects of the resource-oriented positive writing intervention resource diary (RD) on mental health variables among patients recently discharged from psychiatric inpatient treatment.


Eighty-nine patients were randomly assigned to either an intervention group completing RD over the course of 4 weeks (n = 45) or a control group receiving no intervention (n = 44). To measure changes in mental health, patients filled out a number of self-report questionnaires on depression, emotion regulation, and resource activation before and after the intervention.  RESULTS: Participants completing RD had significantly lower depression scores than controls and reported an increased use of the functional emotion regulation strategy "reappraisal" 5 weeks after discharge. A decreased use of the dysfunctional strategy "expressive suppression" was found in the female subsample. No differences were found for resource activation.


These findings suggest that a resource-oriented positive writing intervention has potential for stabilizing mental health after psychiatric discharge and could therefore present an economical alternative or addition to established aftercare programs.


depression; emotion regulation; positive psychology; psychiatric aftercare; resource activation; therapeutic writing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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