The Role of Affect Regulation and Self-presentation in the Expressive Writing Intervention

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00831727
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : January 29, 2009
Last Update Posted : May 12, 2016
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Justin Mattina, University of Toronto

Brief Summary:

The purpose of the present study is twofold. First, we will attempt to examine the role that emotion regulation and self-presentation play as potential moderators in the expressive writing paradigm. We hypothesize that expressive writing participants who demonstrate greater abilities to regulate their emotions at baseline will improve more on our outcome measures. We also hypothesize that those expressive writing participants who demonstrate higher levels of self-presentation at baseline will improve less on our outcome measures.

The second aim of the study has two related objectives. First, we will attempt to investigate whether the expressive writing intervention can increase and enhance an individual's emotion regulation abilities. Related to this, we will then go on to examine whether emotion regulation can be looked at as a potential mechanism of action in the expressive writing procedure. Related to these two objectives, we hypothesize that in comparison to the control group, participants in the expressive writing condition will show increases in their ability to regulate their emotions from baseline to four week follow up. Moreover, we predict that greater gains in emotion regulation abilities for the expressive writing participants will be significantly related to greater gains in outcome measures.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Posttraumatic Stress Disorders Behavioral: Expressive Writing Behavioral: Control Not Applicable

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 75 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Participant)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Examining Potential Moderators and Mediators in the Expressive Writing Intervention: The Role of Affect Regulation and Self-presentation.
Study Start Date : February 2009
Actual Primary Completion Date : November 2010
Actual Study Completion Date : November 2010

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Expressive Writing Behavioral: Expressive Writing
Participants will write about their experienced trauma for 20 minutes on each of three consecutive days using techniques associated with expressive writing
Other Name: Emotional writing

Placebo Comparator: Control Behavioral: Control
Participants will write as factually as possible about an assigned trivial topic for 20 minutes on each of three consecutive days

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale [ Time Frame: Initial session; One month follow-up ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale [ Time Frame: Initial session; One month follow-up ]
  2. Pennebaker Inventory of Limbic Languidness [ Time Frame: Initial session; One month follow-up ]
  3. Beck Depression Inventory, Second Edition [ Time Frame: Initial session; One month follow-up ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Fluent in English
  • Previously experienced trauma (not current or ongoing; excluding bereavement)
  • Currently experiencing trauma-related distress

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Currently involved in psychotherapy
  • Currently taking psychotropic medications
  • Imminent threat to self or others

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00831727

Canada, Ontario
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 1V6
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Toronto
Study Director: Jeanne C Watson, Ph.D. University of Toronto
Principal Investigator: Justin M Mattina, M.A. University of Toronto
Principal Investigator: Jonathan J Danson, B.A. University of Toronto

Responsible Party: Justin Mattina, Principal Investigator, University of Toronto Identifier: NCT00831727     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 23614
SSHRC 767-2007-2210-4
First Posted: January 29, 2009    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: May 12, 2016
Last Verified: May 2016

Keywords provided by Justin Mattina, University of Toronto:
expressive writing
posttraumatic stress

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
Mental Disorders