Teens with Social Anxiety Feel Better by Blogging about Their problems
Israeli researchers administered surveys to high school aged students (14 – 17) in Israel and from a large sample of surveys selected 161 students to participate in a 10 week blogging experiment. All of the participants selected for the study scored high on measures of social anxiety and reported having difficulty making friends and relating to peers.
Subjects were assigned to one of 6 groups:
- A group told to blog about their social problems on a blog which did not allow comments
- A group told to blog about their social problems on a site which did allow reader comments
- A group told to blog about whatever they felt like on a site which did not allow comments
- A group told to blog about whatever they felt like on a site which did allow reader comments
- A group told to write about their social problems in a private journal
- A group told to do nothing
All subjects in the 5 writing groups were asked to post at least twice a week for the duration of the 10 week experiment. Experts evaluated each subject’s degree of social anxiety and overall emotional state at the onset of the study, immediately following the 10 week study period and 2 months following the end of the study.
- Subjects in the blogging groups showed greater improvements than subjects in the private writing or no-writing groups
- The greatest improvements were made by subjects who blogged about their social problems and those who had blogs which allowed reader comments.
Commenting on the results, lead researcher Meyran Boniel-Nissim of The University of Haifa said, “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.”
The full study results can be read online in the journal Psychological Services.
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