Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Harvey J. Burnett, Jr.


Research has indicated that expressive writing is thought to be beneficial by decreasing inhibitions, but what was still unknown is how the use of self-esteem words could moderate the change in anxiety levels. This study examined the efficacy of Expressive Writing on anxiety levels across time (baseline, immediately post treatment, 30 minutes post, and 15 days post) compared to a Superficial Writing control condition. This study also examined how the use of self-esteem words moderated anxiety levels. Subjects (N=31) were drawn from the Andrews University Behavioral Science Research Subjects Pool and were randomly assigned to either an Expressive Writing experimental condition or a Superficial Writing control condition. Subjects also completed a demographic questionnaire and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (State Anxiety scale). Self-esteem words were analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) program. Results from a repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant change in anxiety levels across time for each condition, but did not indicate a significant difference between the two conditions. Results from an ANOVA also did reveal a significant interaction between anxiety levels and self-esteem, but the necessary level of self-esteem was different among subjects. The findings of this study would suggest that engaging in a writing activity is more helpful in decreasing anxiety levels over time, while the use of self-esteem words to have a small buffering effect.

Subject Area

Written communication--Psychological aspects; Self-esteem; Anxiety

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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