Psykologisk Institut

Expressive writing intervention and self-reported physical health out-comes - Results from a nationwide randomized controlled trial with breast cancer patients

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

  • Mikael B Jensen-Johansen, VIA University College, Aarhus, Denmark
  • ,
  • Mia S O'Toole
  • Søren Christensen
  • Heiddis Valdimarsdottir, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Reykjavík University, USA
  • Sandra Zakowski, Argosy University, Chicago, IL, , USA
  • Dana H Bovbjerg, University of Pittsburgh, USA
  • Anders B Jensen
  • Robert Zachariae

The objective was to examine the effect of Expressive Writing Intervention (EWI) on self-reported physical symptoms and healthcare utilization in a nationwide randomized controlled trial with Danish women treated for primary breast cancer, and to explore participant characteristics related to emotion regulation as possible moderators of the effect. Women who had recently completed treatment for primary breast cancer (n = 507) were randomly assigned to three 20 min. home-based writing exercises, one week apart, focusing on emotional disclosure (EWI) of a distressing experience (their cancer or a non-cancer topic) or a non-disclosing topic (control). Outcomes were self-reported physical symptoms and healthcare utilization (visits and telephone contacts with GP) 3 and 9 months post-intervention. Potential moderators were repressive coping, alexithymia, rumination, social constraints, and writing topic. Results revealed no group by time interaction effects for any outcomes. Moderation analyses showed that 1) low alexithymic women in the EWI group showed larger decreases in GP telephone calls over time than both high alexithymic women and controls and 2) women in the EWI group writing about their own cancer, but not women writing about other topics, showed a larger decrease than controls. The results from this large randomized trial are concordant with previous findings showing that EWI is unlikely to be a generally applicable intervention to improve health-related outcomes in cancer patients and cancer survivors. However, written disclosure might have a beneficial impact for individuals who write about their own cancer, as well as for those low in alexithymia.

TidsskriftP L o S One
Sider (fra-til)e0192729
StatusUdgivet - 2018

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