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Self-Disclosure of Emotional Experiences: Narrative Writing and Drawing for Stress Reduction
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by Nida M. Ittayem and Eileen L. Cooley* - Agnes Scott College
Categories: Emotion | Psychotherapy | Stress
Writing about emotional experiences can release tension and improve physical and mental health (Pennebaker & Seagal, 1999). This study compares narrative writing and drawing with a control writing condition for stress reduction. Thirty-four undergraduate women were randomly assigned to narrative writing, drawing, or control writing groups. Pre- and post- anxiety and stress levels were measured with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Lushene, Vagg & Jacobs, 1983) and the Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale (SUDS; Wolpe & Lazarus, 1966). A significant decrease in SUDS stress ratings appeared in both narrative writing and drawing groups compared to an overall increase in the control group. No significant differences in pre-post STAI scores were found. Drawing and narrative writing may be equally effective in reducing stress.