The Change Companies

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Experimental Disclosure and Its Moderators: A Meta-analysis

Experimental Disclosure (most commonly recognized as structured or expressive writing) is the process of disclosing the thoughts, feelings and behaviors surrounding a significant life event through journaling, emotional or expressive writing. The Change Companies®' Interactive Journaling® approach combines expressive writing and cognitive processing through guided questioning and restructuring strategies designed to aid individuals in their examination of the feelings and cognitions surrounding stressful, traumatic and significant life events. Among many statistically significant variables within this study, some of the largest effect sizes were found when measuring the subjective impact of the intervention.

Of the four categories within this variable, positive attitude about intervention (r=.270) and attempts to process/make sense of event (r=.132) were found to be strongly impacted by expressive writing (Frattaroli, 2006). Interactive Journaling® applies this evidence through targeting the enhancement of self-efficacy and attitudes about changing maladaptive behaviors. Our Interactive Journaling® approach engages participants in the change process by using Motivational Interviewing principles, cognitive-behavioral strategies and the integration of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change throughout a series of guided questions that involve participants in the process of writing about significant life experience. By raising awareness about risks, needs, strengths and resources participants can cognitively transform negative affect and behavior to strengthening their ability to make sense of the event and the potential solutions for change. Consequently the participants explore and rehearse skills for positive personal growth, foster pro-social values and improve social functioning.

This meta-analysis on expressive writing indicated a significant and positive impact on social relationships, cognitive functioning and educational outcomes. Moreover, those studies that provided participants with directed questions or examples had significantly larger effect sizes than studies that did not (Frattaroli, 2006). The evidence found in this meta-analysis supports the application of structured and expressive writing as an effective strategy for behavior change as found in each of The Change Companies®' Interactive Journals.