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

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Justin Mattina, University of Toronto Identifier:
First received: January 28, 2009
Last updated: May 10, 2016
Last verified: May 2016

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 Intervention
Posttraumatic Stress Disorders
Behavioral: Expressive Writing
Behavioral: Control

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Participant)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Examining Potential Moderators and Mediators in the Expressive Writing Intervention: The Role of Affect Regulation and Self-presentation.

Further study details as provided by University of Toronto:

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

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

Enrollment: 75
Study Start Date: February 2009
Study Completion Date: November 2010
Primary Completion Date: November 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
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


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (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
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: 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
  More Information

Responsible Party: Justin Mattina, Principal Investigator, University of Toronto Identifier: NCT00831727     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 23614
SSHRC 767-2007-2210-4
Study First Received: January 28, 2009
Last Updated: May 10, 2016

Keywords provided by 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 processed this record on May 22, 2017