This meta‐analysis addresses the question of whether expressive writing shows an effect on reducing depressive symptoms. It focuses on samples of physically healthy adults with varying degrees of stress but without posttraumatic stress disorder. A total of 39 randomized controlled trials with 64 intervention‐control group comparisons were obtained through keyword search in databases and backward search. Expressive writing did not yield significant long‐term effects on depressive symptoms. However, effects were larger when the number of sessions was higher and when the writing topic was more specific. The results of this meta‐analysis did not support the effectiveness of brief, self‐directed expressive writing as an intervention that decreases depressive symptoms in physically healthy adults with varying degrees of psychological stress. Future research should examine whether longer, more directed writing interventions with additional therapeutic support would lead to different results.
Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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