Reducing Depressive Symptoms and Increasing Positive Feelings with Expressive Writing

Chen Sung Wong, Melissa Jane Chua, Kususanto Ditto Prihadi


This experimental study examined the effect of expressive writing on depressive symptoms. 86 undergraduate students were recruited from a private university to perform online positive experience writing (PEW) (n = 31), negative experience (NEW) (n = 32) and control topic (CW) (n = 23) for three sessions in three consecutive weeks. The depressive symptoms of participants were measured at pretreatment and posttreatment. It was hypothesized that PEW has significant greater reduction in depressive symptoms compared to NEW and CW based on broaden and build model. Nevertheless, results showed that PEW had significantly greater symptoms reduction than CW, yet there was no significant difference between PEW and NEW. The findings suggested that PEW might be potentially useful in reducing depressive symptoms among undergraduates. Limitations and suggestions are discussed.


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