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Emotional disclosure in school children

Reynolds, M; Brewin, CR; Saxton, M; (2000) Emotional disclosure in school children. J CHILD PSYCHOL PSYC , 41 (2) 151 - 159.

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Abstract

Recent research with adults by Pennebaker and his colleagues has found that emotional disclosure through writing about stressful events appears to have significant benefits in terms of psychological and physical health outcomes. This report describes a controlled trial of emotional disclosure, adapted for school children, with the major hypothesis that the repeated description of negative events will have beneficial effects on measures of mental health, attendance, and school performance. The sample consisted of children aged 8-13 years from four schools, a primary and a secondary school both from a suburban and an inner-city area. Children were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: writing about negative events, writing about nonemotional events, and a non-writing control group. Children in all groups were seen four times during a single week and were then followed up after 2 months with measures of health and school performance. The intervention was well received by both schools and children, and the scripts written by the emotional and nonemotional writing groups differed in content in the predicted ways. Contrary to expectation, there was little evidence of a specific effect of emotional disclosure, and several possible reasons for this are discussed. Nevertheless. there was a general reduction in symptom measures, indicating that children may have benefited from their involvement in the study. Although there are several possible explanations for our findings, they indicate that it is both feasible and potentially valuable to give children opportunities to engage in discussion about sources of stress and their reactions to them.

Type: Article
Title: Emotional disclosure in school children
Keywords: emotional disclosure, school children, diary keeping, stress, ABDOMINAL-PAIN PATIENTS, INTRUSIVE MEMORIES, ANXIETY SYMPTOMS, DEPRESSION, INHIBITION, CHILDHOOD, DISORDER, HEALTH
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/125360
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