In a variation on Pennebaker’s writing paradigm, a sample of 90 undergraduates were randomly assigned to write about either an intensely positive experience (IPE) (n=48) or a control topic (n=42) for 20 min each day for three consecutive days. Mood measures were taken before and after writing. Three months later, measures of health center visits for illness were obtained. Writing about IPEs was associated with enhanced positive mood. Writing about IPEs was also associated with significantly fewer health center visits for illness, compared to controls. Results are interpreted as challenging previously considered mechanisms of the positive benefits of writing.
Burton, C. M., & King, L. A. (2004). The health benefits of writing about intensely positive experiences. Journal of research in personality, 38(2), 150-163.