A written exposure intervention for trauma-related symptoms

Pamela B. Deters


This study examined the relationship between self-reported traumatic experiences, and a written task of emotional expression. Fifty-seven undergraduate students wrote about either previously experienced trauma, or a trivial topic. It was hypothesized that writing about trauma would result in fewer psychological symptoms and health-center visits, at follow-up. A second hypothesis was that writing about trauma would be associated with greater use of insightful and causal words. Results indicated that, by follow-up, there were no significant differences between the "trauma" and the "trivial" groups, on either psychological or health measures. However, those who wrote about trauma used significantly more insightful and causal words across the writing project. Thus, it appears that when writing about trauma, participants used more insightful and causal words, but the writing had no impact on other measures.