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JMIR Ment Health. 2018 Dec 10;5(4):e11290. doi: 10.2196/11290.

Online Positive Affect Journaling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial.

Author information

1
Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States.
2
Department of Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA, United States.
3
Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Positive affect journaling (PAJ), an emotion-focused self-regulation intervention, has been associated with positive outcomes among medical populations. It may be adapted for Web-based dissemination to address a need for scalable, evidence-based psychosocial interventions among distressed patients with medical conditions.

OBJECTIVE:

This study aimed to examine the impact of a 12-week Web-based PAJ intervention on psychological distress and quality of life in general medical patients.

METHODS:

A total of 70 adults with various medical conditions and elevated anxiety symptoms were recruited from local clinics and randomly assigned to a Web-based PAJ intervention (n=35) or usual care (n=35). The intervention group completed 15-min Web-based PAJ sessions on 3 days each week for 12 weeks. At baseline and the end of months 1 through 3, surveys of psychological, interpersonal, and physical well-being were completed.

RESULTS:

Patients evidenced moderate sustained adherence to Web-based intervention. PAJ was associated with decreased mental distress and increased well-being relative to baseline. PAJ was also associated with less depressive symptoms and anxiety after 1 month and greater resilience after the first and second month, relative to usual care.

CONCLUSIONS:

Web-based PAJ may serve as an effective intervention for mitigating mental distress, increasing well-being, and enhancing physical functioning among medical populations. PAJ may be integrated into routine medical care to improve quality of life.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01873599; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01873599 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/73ZGFzD2Z).

KEYWORDS:

adult; anxiety; depression; emotions; expressed emotion; internet; stress, psychological/physiopathology; surveys and questionnaires; treatment outcome; writing

PMID:
30530460
DOI:
10.2196/11290
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