Magazine article Work & Family Life

Want to Make a Change? Write about It

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Want to Make a Change? Write about It

Article excerpt

Research on the benefits of so-called "expressive writing" is growing by leaps and bounds. The latest studies suggest that writing and editing our personal stories can help us make needed changes in our lives and even boost our feelings of happiness. Here are some of the findings:

m Duke University researchers asked a group of freshmen who were struggling academically to write narratives about their college experience. They were divided into "intervention" and "control" groups. Students in the intervention group were given information about how common it is to struggle in the freshman year, and they were prompted to write a new narrative about needing more time to adjust. On a later test, students in the "storychanging intervention" group got better grades. They were also less likely to drop out than students who were not prompted to edit their narratives.

* A Stanford University study asked a similar group of students who were struggling to create an essay or video about college life that would be seen by future students. The students who took part in the writing or video project got better grades in the ensuing months than those in the control group.

m Psychologist James Pennebaker asked students at the University of Texas to write daily about an important personal issue or about something trivial. …

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