Emotional Disclosure in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Participants' Views on Mechanisms

Lucie Byrne-Davis, Mark Wetherell, Paul Dieppe, John Weinman, Margaret Byron, Jenny Donovan, Rob Horne, Sara Brookes, Kavita Vedhara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Emotional disclosure refers to the process of writing or talking about personally stressful or traumatic events and has been associated with improvements in mood and immune parameters in clinical and non-clinical groups. This article presents evidence from a qualitative study embedded in a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT) of emotional disclosure in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The study aimed to explore participants’ views about the emotional disclosure and control conditions. Fifteen participants (N = 9 in intervention and N = 6 in the control group) were interviewed about their experiences of taking part in the RCT. A thematic analysis was undertaken. The process of writing within the study was seen as being different to discussing difficulties verbally. Participants noted notions of resolution, catharsis and a realisation that effective coping had been achieved, as important aspects of the disclosure process. Surprisingly, the participants in the control sample, who had been asked to take part in a supposedly ‘neutral’ task, indicated that they had found the task emotional. These themes provide some exploratory evidence for the experiential and linguistic models of emotional disclosure. The finding that the standard control condition was not neutral has implications for its use in future emotional disclosure studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667 -682
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006


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