Written benefit finding for improving psychological health during the Covid-19 pandemic first wave lockdown

Hansen, Sarah, Wetherell, Mark and Smith, Michael (2022) Written benefit finding for improving psychological health during the Covid-19 pandemic first wave lockdown. Psychology & Health, 37 (10). pp. 1223-1240. ISSN 0887-0446

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2021.1936521


Objectives: Written benefit finding is known to improve psychological and physical health in a range of patient groups. Here, we tested the efficacy of written benefit finding, delivered online during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, on mood and physical symptoms. We also investigated perseverative thinking as a moderator of these effects.

Design: A quantitative longitudinal design was employed.

Main Outcome Measures: Participants (n = 91) completed self-report measures of anxiety, depression, stress and physical symptoms at baseline, and two weeks after being randomised to complete three consecutive days of writing about the positive thoughts and feelings they experienced during the pandemic (written benefit finding) or to unemotively describe the events of the previous day (control). State anxiety was measured immediately before and after writing. Perseverative thinking was measured at baseline.

Results: Anxiety and depression symptoms decreased between baseline and the two week follow-up, but did not differ significantly between the two conditions. Perseverative thinking was negatively associated with changes in symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress, but did not moderate any writing effects. There was a significant reduction in state anxiety in the written benefit finding condition.

Conclusions: Written benefit finding may be a useful intervention for short-term improvements in wellbeing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: written benefit finding, expressive writing, stress, anxiety, depression, physical symptoms
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2021 10:08
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2022 15:00
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46333

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