The therapeutic value of adolescents’ blogging about social–emotional difficulties.
Boniel-Nissim, Meyran; Barak, Azy
Psychological Services, Vol 10(3), Aug 2013, 333-341.
Research shows that writing a personal diary is a valuable therapeutic means for relieving emotional distress and promoting well-being, and that diary writing during adolescence helps in coping with developmental challenges. Current technologies and cultural trends make it possible and normative to publish personal diaries on the Internet through blogs—interactive, online forms of the traditional personal diary. We examined the therapeutic value of blogging for adolescents who experience social–emotional difficulties. The field experiment included randomly assigned adolescents, preassessed as having social–emotional difficulties, to 6 groups (26–28 participants in each): Four groups were assigned to blogging (writing about their difficulties or free writing; either open or closed to responses), a group assigned to writing a diary on personal computers, and a no-treatment control group. Participants in the 5 writing groups were instructed to post messages at least twice a week over 10 weeks. Outcome measures included scales of social–emotional difficulties and self-esteem, a social activities checklist, and textual analyses of participants’ posts. Measurement took place at pre- and postintervention and at follow-up 2 months later. Results showed that participants maintaining a blog significantly improved on all measures. Participants writing about their difficulties in blogs open to responses gained the most. These results were consistent in the follow-up evaluation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)