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The Benefits of Online Emotional Disclosure

From an interview with Ted Tarkow, Professor of Classical Studies & Associate Dean of Arts & Science

Kylie L. Woodbury, Psychological Sciences

Laura King, Mentor

This study addressed two questions: 1) Can written emotion disclosure over the internet produce psychological benefits? 2) Does writing about positive and negative topics produce the same benefits? Participants were randomly assigned to write (for twenty minutes, once a week, for three weeks) about one of three topics: a negative life event, a meaningful event in the past week, or a non-emotional control topic. Participants completed measures of depression and subjective well-being two months later. Results indicate that writing online does produce benefits: negative emotional disclosure leads to decreases in depressive symptoms and positive emotional disclosure leads to heightened psychological well-being.