The effects of expressive writing on pain, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in survivors of intimate partner violence

J Health Psychol. 2005 Mar;10(2):211-21. doi: 10.1177/1359105305049769.


This study examined the effects of expressive writing on depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and pain symptoms among women who have survived intimate partner violence (IPV). Forty-seven women completed baseline and four-month follow-up assessments and were randomly assigned to four writing sessions of either expressive writing focused on traumatic life events or writing about a neutral topic. Main effects were not significant for changes in depression, pain or PTSD symptoms. However, among depressed women, those assigned to expressive writing showed a significantly greater drop in depression. For depressed women with IPV histories, expressive writing may lead to reduced depression.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Depression* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Writing*