Expressive writing in school children: Effects on well-being and working memory
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Expressive writing in school children: Effects on well-being and working memory

Michaël Fartoukh & Lucile Chanquoy (2020)
Journal of Writing Research, 11(3), 505-523

This study examines the benefits of an expressive writing intervention in 5th graders on well-being – anxiety and depression symptoms – and on working memory capacity. A classical paradigm of expressive writing was used in school children during their classroom time: half of the participants had to write about stressful and negative events of their own lives, whereas the other half had to write about a normal school day. Children were asked to write four times in two weeks, resulting in four days of writing. Each group completed questionnaires yielding measures of depression, anxiety, and working memory 3 times: before the intervention, just after the writing sessions and two months after following the intervention. The narratives were analyzed using Emotaix-Tropes software. The results revealed that all the children showed a decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms. By contrast, only children in the expressive writing group showed working memory improvement. The potential benefits of emotional disclosure in school children are discussed. While there are several possible explanations for these findings, the results of this study indicate, first, that expressive writing seems to be both feasible and potentially valuable for school children, and second, that some cognitive changes occur in terms of cognitive functioning.

PDF | doi: 10.17239/jowr-2020.11.03.04

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