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Effects of written emotional disclosure on health outcomes in patients with ankylosing spondylitis

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The study aimed to evaluate the impact of a written emotional disclosure intervention on psychological and physical health outcomes in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients. Forty-five male and twenty-three female AS patients (mean age 52 years) were randomly assigned to write about either stressful (intervention) or neutral (control) topics for 20 min on 3 consecutive days. Three months after writing, intervention participants evidenced significantly better functional status than controls. However, other measures of physical and psychological health were unchanged and the improvement in functional status was not clinically significant. Health improvements in the intervention group were significantly associated with linguistic content reflecting emotional and cognitive processing. Limitations of the emotional disclosure intervention and future research directions are discussed.
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Keywords: Stress; ankylosing spondylitis; coping; emotional disclosure

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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