Expressive talking among caregivers of hematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors: acceptability and concurrent subjective, objective, and physiologic indicators of emotion

J Psychosoc Oncol. 2012;30(3):294-315. doi: 10.1080/07347332.2012.664255.


This study sought to examine the effects of an expressive talking intervention for 58 caregiving partners of hematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors, persons known to experience distress. Caregivers were randomly assigned to a three-session emotional expression (EE) or control condition. Subjective, objective, and physiologic indicators of emotion were assessed. Relative to controls, EE participants experienced more negative emotion, uttered more negative emotion words, and perceived the exercises as more helpful and meaningful. The trajectory of skin conductance and the use of cognitive mechanism words increased across EE sessions, suggesting sustained emotional engagement. Future research is warranted to determine the optimal dose and timing of EE for this population.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Communication*
  • Expressed Emotion*
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Survivors