Distress Released with Blogging

Social anxiety disorder patients see symptom relief with blog writing

(RxWiki News) Teens suffering from social anxiety may have a trendy means of therapy available right at their fingertips, a new study infers.

Research published through the American Psychological Association suggests that blogging could have psychological perks for young adults with social anxiety disorder symptoms.

"Blog about issues to reduce anxiety and distress."

Lead author on the study, Meyran Boniel-Nissim, Ph.D., professor at the University of Haifa, explains, “Research has shown that writing a personal diary and other forms of expressive writing are a great way to release emotional distress and just feel better.

Teens are online anyway, so blogging enables free expression and easy communication with others.”

This research involved the study of 161 students, 37 male and 124 female, average age fifteen, who had all demonstrated symptoms of social anxiety through a survey assessing their quality of social relationships.

The study worked with the teens for 10-weeks, assessing everyday social life, behaviors, and self-esteem immediately after treatment and at a two-month follow-up.

The students were divided into four groups to blog—two were told to focus posts on their social issues, one of which opened their articles to comments, while the other two were told to write about anything, again with one group open to posts from other users.

Two additional groups acted as controls—one section writing down social anxieties in a diary or journal while the other did nothing. All comments were answered at the discretion of the writer.

Four counseling and psychology experts assessed the psychological and emotional stability of the bloggers and control participants. The students were defined as being in a poor mental state according to their blog content, including writing about negative relationships or poor self-image.

The study’s results, consistent at both completion and two-month follow-up, found that teens engaged in blogging freed themselves of their symptoms more than those journaling or doing nothing. Additionally, those able to express their social distress in their blogs found supplemental success, as well as groups open to reader commentary.

Co-author on the study, Azy Barak, Ph.D., notes, “Although cyber bullying and online abuse are extensive and broad, we noted that almost all responses to our participants' blog messages were supportive and positive in nature.”

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These results allowed participants to build personal acceptance and freedom of communication. Findings were consistent amongst female and male bloggers, although authors admit that the study’s skew limited the study and believe future studies should control for gender.

Review Date: 
January 6, 2012