Expressive writing interventions and health


Wednesday, 19 September, 2012 - 16:00


Mathews Lecture Theatre C


School of Psychology

Type of event: 


Presenter: Dr Joshua Smyth

Institution: Pennsylvania State University, USA


This presentation will review the field of expressive writing interventions - brief writing sessions typically focused on stressful/traumatic experiences. Notably, this intervention has shown potential to improve health related outcomes and processes. After reviewing some of the seminal evidence in support of the work, some challenges and limitations of the field will be discussed. Attention will be paid to some important contextual moderators of intervention effects, and also to potential mechanisms leading to improvement. The presentation will conclude with some future directions, noting key opportunities and challenges that face the field.



Joshua Smyth is Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Medicine at the Pennsylvania State University and the Academic Director of the Dynamic Real-time Ecological Ambulatory Methodologies [DREAM] Initiative. His research reflects the multidisciplinary integration of psychological, behavioural, social and biological factors in human health and functioning. Three broadly defined areas comprise this research program: (1) What are the effects of experiencing stress on psychological and physical well-being? (2) Can we assess stress, emotion, and health in an ecologically relevant manner that facilitates our understanding of biopsychosocial processes as they unfold in time and in natural context? (3) Can psychological and behavioural interventions improve health and well-being? He has made important contributions to understanding stress and coping, psychological interventions, pain, immune disorders, chronic illness, eating behaviours, and ambulatory naturalistic monitoring. Professor Smyth has published in excess of 100 articles and chapters in a variety of medical and psychological journals or books, and has received continuous grant support over the last decade from the National Institutes of Health to study stress, coping, and health processes in a variety of settings. Professor Smyth is also an active and engaged teacher, and has received numerous accolades and awards for teaching and mentoring of students and trainees.