Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

M. Scott DeBerard


M. Scott DeBerard


David Stein


JoAnn Tschanz


Mary Doty


This project examined the imp act of an expressive writing intervention as compared to a general health in formation control on breast cancer patients' postradiation treatment. It further examined the content of the expressive writing narratives. The sample included women who were completing radiation treatment for breast cancer at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and City of Hope hospital. The measures utilized in this study were self-report instruments targeting psychological distress (PANAS, JES) and general functioning (SIP), as well as demographic questionnaires. Results revealed the expressive writing intervention significantly impacted positive affect over time. Furthermore, participants from both the treatment and control groups evidenced improvements in psychological distress and general functioning over time. Linguistic analyses revealed participants' use of positive affect words increased across writing sessions, whereas the use of negative affect words and cognitive words did not change. Additionally, the use of past tense words decreased across writing sessions, whereas the use of present tense words increased and the use of future tense remained constant. The findings revealed from this study indicate that an expressive writing intervention can positively impact breast cancer patients up to 1 year postradiation treatment. Furthermore, the analysis of writing trends suggests that the use of positive affect words, the decrease in use of past tense words, along with the increase of present tense words across writing sessions, may be important linguistic components in positive outcomes.



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