Gratitude writing intervention reduces COVID-19 stress and negative affect, study suggests
USA: Study article published in the Journal of Happiness Studies confirms that gratitude-focused and expressive writing are effective methods to minimize stress and the negative effects of a COVID-19 pandemic crisis on mental well-being.A COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event that has presented us with multiple challenges. People in the United States and globally, have shown higher...
USA: Study article published in the Journal of Happiness Studies confirms that gratitude-focused and expressive writing are effective methods to minimize stress and the negative effects of a COVID-19 pandemic crisis on mental well-being.
A COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event that has presented us with multiple challenges. People in the United States and globally, have shown higher levels of stress and negative emotions due to a lack of knowledge and the unknown trajectory of the pandemic. Mental well-being declines during such a crisis leading to increased levels of anxiety and depression and even the risk of increased suicide. Gratitude-focused writing may yield additional benefits in such a crisis as it helps to appraise events positively.
With the purpose to compare the effectiveness of online gratitude writing and expressive writing intervention on self-reported physical and psychological health during the COVID-19 pandemic, Erin M. Department of Psychological Sciences, Indianapolis, and his team conducted a randomized control trial by collecting data using the Qualtrics online survey platform.
After completing an online screener and informed consent, participants completed several measures and were randomly assigned to an online gratitude writing, online expressive writing, or control condition and completed assessments one week and one-month post-intervention
In both the expressive writing and gratitude group, participants were asked to write for a total of five to ten minutes and instructed to continue every day over the next week. Participants in the control condition were not asked to write and moved on to complete the remainder of the study measures.
Key findings from the study
• Gratitude-focused writing participants showed improved levels of stress as compared to expressive writing and controls.
• Gratitude-focused writing group also showed decreases in negative affect but no improvements in positive affect.
The author and team conclude that gratitude writing is an effective, low-cost, and feasible way of helping individuals positively reframe their circumstances, decrease stress and negative mood states, and better adjust to the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of a global pandemic like COVID-19.
Authors recommend that future studies should recruit a more evenly distributed sample in terms of cultural, sociodemographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Fekete, E.M., Deichert, N.T. A Brief Gratitude Writing Intervention Decreased Stress and Negative Affect During the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Happiness Stud (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-022-00505-6
Dr. Hiral patel (BDS) has completed BDS from Gujarat University, Baroda. She has worked in private dental steup for 8years and is currently a consulting general dentist in mumbai. She has recently completed her advanced PG diploma in clinical research and pharmacovigilance. She is passionate about writing and loves to read, analyses and write informative medical content for readers. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.