The effects of an exploratory, home-based emotional disclosure intervention on psychological and physiological outcomes were assessed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Patients were randomly assigned to a disclosure group (n = 19) in which they wrote/talked about traumatic personal experiences, or to a control group (n = 15) in which they wrote/talked about the events of a particular day. Participants undertook these tasks for periods of 20 minutes on 4 consecutive days. The disclosure group demonstrated increases in negative mood and objective markers of disease activity at 1 week post-intervention. However, there were significant trends for the disclosure group to demonstrate minor improvements in mood and stability in disease activity, compared with the control group. These group differences appeared to be due to deteriorations in the control group more than improvements in the disclosure group.
- disease activity • emotional disclosure • inhibition • rheumatoid arthritis • stress