Revisiting written disclosure: The effects of warm versus cold experimenters


Journal Article

Early writing paradigm studies suggested that people who write about emotional or traumatic events accrue psychological and physiological benefits. However, recent studies suggest that a number of variables may play a role in determining when, and for whom, writing is beneficial. The current study examined the impact of experimenter demeanor in this paradigm. Though participants who disclosed a traumatic event after interacting with a warm experimenter were more engaged in the writing task and more likely to report gaining insight than those in other conditions, they did not demonstrate the expected psychological or physical benefits. In fact, they reported significantly more distress at follow-up than others. Conversely, those participants who disclosed a trauma after interacting with a cold, distant experimenter did not experience increases in distress or report a significant amount of insight gained as the result of written disclosure.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rogers, LJ; Wilson, KG; Gohm, CL; Merwin, RM

Published Date

  • May 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 556 - 574

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0736-7236

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1521/jscp.2007.26.5.556

Citation Source

  • Scopus