AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 13–26

The Effects of Expressive Writing on Adjustment to HIV

  • Inna D. Rivkin
  • Julie Gustafson
  • Ilene Weingarten
  • Dorothy Chin
Intervention Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10461-005-9051-9

Cite this article as:
Rivkin, I.D., Gustafson, J., Weingarten, I. et al. AIDS Behav (2006) 10: 13. doi:10.1007/s10461-005-9051-9

Previous research suggests that writing about stressful experiences results in better health and psychological well-being. In the present study, a multi-ethnic sample of 79 HIV-positive women and men participated in a structured interview, and wrote about either their deepest thoughts and feelings about living with HIV (expressive writing) or their activities in the last 24 hr (control). Sixty-two participants returned for the 2-month follow-up and 50 returned for the 6-month follow-up interview. Oral fluid samples of beta2-microglobulin were taken at the baseline and follow-up assessments to examine the immunological effects of writing. No effects of writing condition were found, but expressive writing participants who included increasing insight/causation and social words in their writing had better immune function and reported more positive changes at follow-up. Results suggest that cognitive processing and changes in social interactions may be critical to the benefits of writing.

KEYWORDS:

expressive writing cognitive processing human immunodeficiency virus health 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inna D. Rivkin
    • 1
    • 3
  • Julie Gustafson
    • 1
  • Ilene Weingarten
    • 2
  • Dorothy Chin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of Education and PsychologyPepperdine UniversityLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Neuropsychiatric InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA