Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Karl Bailey

Second Advisor

Harvey Burnett

Abstract

Expressing trauma, specifically through expressive writing, leads to better health, both physically and psychologically. Specifically, the relationship between expressive writing and higher rates of affective (emotional) word use can be explained by reappraisal, a technique that reduces stress through better understanding. Reappraisal is thus related to resilience, and both are correlated with secure attachment. Secure attachment, in turn, is best folstered by authoritative parenting. Because of this research we predicted that there would be a positive relationship between resilience, language use, and authoritative parenting. In this study, 100 college-aged participants reported perceived parenting style and resilience. We randomly assigned participants to experimental and control groups, participants in the control group were asked to type a detailed account of their day, while the experimental group was prompted to type about a traumatic experience. Participants' responses were then saved, formatted, and analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) computer software program. We did not find t he hypothesized positive relationship between authoritative parenting, resilience, and emotional language, raising questions about the mechanisms by which expressive writing facilitates well-being.

Subject Area

Authorship--Psychological aspects, Resilience (Personality trait)

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