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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

Deborah Wise, Ph.D.


The impact of expressive writing about traumatic events on physical health, healthrelated behaviors, and psychological functioning was explored. Expressive writing acts as an exposure task in which negative mood is reduced after repeated exposure to threatening stimuli (Sloan & Marx, 2004). Graduate students and community members (N = 37) wrote about either a traumatic life event or a neutral stimulus for twenty minutes during three writing sessions. The effects of expressive writing on mood, psychological distress, physical health, health behaviors, and satisfaction with life were assessed. In addition, the relationship between trauma-related cognitions on psychological distress was examined. Writing about traumatic events led to increased negative mood immediately after writing during the fIrst and second, but not the third, writing sessions. Trauma-related cognitive overaccommodation was related to increased levels of anxiety and-stress. Treatment implications are discussed


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