Healing the wounds of organizational injustice: examining the benefits of expressive writing

J Appl Psychol. 2009 Mar;94(2):511-23. doi: 10.1037/a0013451.


Clinical and health psychology research has shown that expressive writing interventions-expressing one's experience through writing-can have physical and psychological benefits for individuals dealing with traumatic experiences. In the present study, the authors examined whether these benefits generalize to experiences of workplace injustice. Participants (N = 100) were randomly assigned to write on 4 consecutive days about (a) their emotions, (b) their thoughts, (c) both their emotions and their thoughts surrounding an injustice, or (d) a trivial topic (control). Post-intervention, participants in the emotions and thoughts condition reported higher psychological well-being, fewer intentions to retaliate, and higher levels of personal resolution than did participants in the other conditions. Participants in the emotions and thoughts condition also reported less anger than did participants who wrote only about their emotions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Culture
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Personnel Management*
  • Social Justice*
  • Thinking
  • Writing*
  • Young Adult