Emotional Disclosure Through Writing or Speaking Modulates Latent Epstein-Barr Virus Antibody Titers

Brian A. Esterling, Michael H. Antoni, Mary Ann Fletcher, Scott Margulies, Neil Schneiderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

224 Scopus citations

Abstract

Healthy Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) seropositive undergraduates (N = 57) completed a personality inventory, provided blood samples, and were randomly assigned to write or talk about stressful events, or to write about trivial events, during three weekly 20-min sessions, after which they provided a final blood sample. Individuals assigned to the verbal/stressful condition had significantly lower EBV antibody titers (suggesting better cellular immune control over the latent virus) after the intervention than those in the written/stressful group, who had significantly lower values than those in the written/trivial control group. Subjects assigned to the written/stressful condition expressed more negative emotional words than the verbal/stressful and control groups and more positive emotional words than the verbal/stressful group at each time point. The verbal/stressful group expressed more negative emotional words compared with the control group at baseline. Content analysis indicated that the verbal/stressful group achieved the greatest improvements in cognitive change, self-esteem, and adaptive coping strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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