Theories, Therapies, and Taxpayers: On the Complexities of the Expressive Writing Paradigm

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Abstract

Although the expressive writing paradigm has generally produced positive health outcomes, a recurring puzzle concerns how and why it works. No single theory or theoretical perspective has convincingly explained its effectiveness. This may be attributable to the fact that expressive writing affects people on multiple levels—cognitive, emotional, social, and biological—making a single explanatory theory unlikely. In addition to addressing theory-relevant questions, researchers and therapists must now address when and with whom writing is most beneficial and, at the same time, evaluate if this (and other) intervention produces economically valuable outcomes.

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