Changes in language use mediate expressive writing's benefits on health-related quality of life following myocardial infarction

David Hevey, Eva Wilczkiewicz
Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine 2014 January 1, 2 (1): 1053-1066
The present study assessed linguistic mediators on the effects of expressive writing on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), depression and anxiety following myocardial infarction (MI). One hundred and twenty-one cardiac patients were randomised (expressive writing = 61; control = 60), 98 (expressive writing = 47; control = 51) provided pre- and post-data, with 89 (expressive writing = 43; control = 46) completing the three-month follow-up. The expressive writing group wrote (20 mins/day for three consecutive days) about their thoughts and feelings regarding their MI, and the control group wrote (20 mins/day for three consecutive days) about daily events that occurred during the year prior to the MI. The outcome measures of depression, anxiety and HRQOL were completed pre-randomisation, post-intervention and three months post-intervention; the mediating variables assessed were changes in (a) positive emotion words, (b) negative emotion words and (c) cognitive-processing words. Three months post-intervention, the expressive writing group had significantly higher HRQOL. The positive effects of expressive writing were significantly associated with increases in both positive emotion words and cognitive-processing words across the three days of expressive writing. Expressive writing is a beneficial intervention that may enhance HRQOL among cardiac patients.

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