Is expressive writing effective in decreasing depression and increasing forgiveness and emotional wellbeing if preadolescents?

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Barbara Barcaccia, Tyler Schaeffer, Viviana Balestrini, Fabio Rizzo, Francesca Mattogno, Roberto Baiocco, Francesco Mancini, Barry Howard Schneider (2017): Is expressive writing effective in decreasing depression and increasing forgiveness and emotional wellbeing if preadolescents?. In: Terapia psicológica, 35 (3), pp. 213-222, 2017, ISSN: 0716-6184.

Abstract

Expressive writing (EW) can be an effective way to alter maladaptive emotional reactions to stressful life events,
although little is known about how pre-adolescents may beneft from it. In this quasi-experimental study, we
compared measures of depression, anger, forgiveness, positive and negative affect in pre-adolescents before
and after EW in both an experimental group undergoing the EW paradigm and a control group (N=138). No
signifcant effects between control and experimental groups were found for the considered variables, except
for positive and negative affect. We suggest potential reasons accounting for these results. Given that the
theorised mechanisms involved in the EW paradigm include executive functioning abilities, it is possible that
preadolescents may not be able to beneft from it, due to not fully developed executive functioning skills.
Our results provide useful information in order to better design future studies and prevention/intervention
programmes to be implemented with preadolescents.

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