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

Mikael B Jensen-Johansen, Mia S O'Toole, Søren Christensen, Heiddis Valdimarsdottir, Sandra Zakowski, Dana H Bovbjerg, Anders B Jensen, Robert Zachariae

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review

Abstract

The objective was to examine the effect of Expressive Writing Intervention (EWI) on selfreported
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.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftPLoS ONE
Vol/bind13
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)e0192729
ISSN1932-6203
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 23 feb. 2018

Emneord

  • brystkræft
  • cancer
  • expressive writing
  • self-reported health

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