Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 155–167 | Cite as

The Psychological Displacement Paradigm in Diary-Writing (PDPD) and its Psychological Benefits

  • Jen-Ho ChangEmail author
  • Chin-Lan Huang
  • Yi-Cheng Lin
Research Paper


The present study aimed to investigate the psychological displacement paradigm in diary-writing (PDPD) had both immediate and short-term psychological benefits. Participants were randomly assigned to write about their recent negative life experiences two times a week for 2 weeks in PDPD group or comparison group. Results revealed that the PDPD group displayed a decrease in negative emotion and an increase in positive emotion immediately after each writing session; they also showed an increase in psychological well-being relative to the comparison group for at least 2 weeks. Implications for PDPD are discussed.


Pronoun flexibility Psychological displacement paradigm in diary-writing (PDPD) Psychological distance Writing therapy 


  1. Ayduk, O., & Kross, E. (2008). Enhancing the pace of recovery : Self-distanced analysis of negative experiences reduces blood pressure reactivity. Psychological Science, 19, 229–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berntsen, D., & Rubin, D. C. (2006). Emotion and vantage point in autobiographical memory. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 1193–1215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. A., & Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18, 211–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burton, C. M., & King, L. A. (2008). Effects of (very) brief writing on health: The two-minute miracle. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13, 9–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell, R. S., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2003). The secret life of pronouns: Flexibility in writing style and physical health. Psychological Science, 14, 60–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chang, J. H., Lin, Y. C., & Huang, J. L. (2010). Examinations of the characteristics and therapeutic effects of psychological displacement writing. Chinese Journal of Guidance and Counseling, 28, 29–60.Google Scholar
  7. Chien, C. P., & Cheng, T. A. (1985). Depression in Taiwan: Epidemiological survey utilizing CES-D. Psychiatria at Neurologia Japonica, 87, 335–338.Google Scholar
  8. Chung, H. C., Cheng, W. C., Chang, W. H., Chang, J. H., & Lin, Y. C. (2009). Psychological displacement writing: A word analysis approach. In Poster session presented at the 8th conference of Asian Association of Social Psychology, Delhi.Google Scholar
  9. Chung, C., & Pennebaker, J. (2007). The psychological functions of function words. In K. Fiedler (Ed.), Social communication (pp. 343–359). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  10. Crawley, R. (2010). Closure of autobiographical memories: The effects of written recounting from first- or third-person visual perspective. Memory, 18, 900–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frattaroli, J. (2006). Experimental disclosure and its moderators: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 823–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fujita, K., & Han, H. A. (2009). Moving beyond deliberative control of impulses: The effect of construal levels on evaluative associations in self-control conflicts. Psychological Science, 20(7), 799–804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fujita, K., Trope, Y., Liberman, N., & Levin-Sagi, M. (2006). Construal levels and self-control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 351–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gao. (1990). Soul Mountain. Taipei: Linking Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hwang, K. K. (2009). The development of indigenous counseling in contemporary Confucian communities. Counseling Psychologist, 37, 930–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hwang, K. K., & Chang, J. (2009). Self-cultivation culturally sensitive psychotherapies in Confucian societies. Counseling Psychologist, 37, 1010–1032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jin, S. R. (2005). The dialectical effect of psychological displacement: A narrative analysis. Taipei: National Science Council.Google Scholar
  19. Jin, S. R. (2010). Structure characteristics of psychological displacement and its dialectical phenomenon: Narratives of the multidimensional self. Chinese Journal of Guidance and Counseling, 28, 191–233.Google Scholar
  20. Knowles, E. D., Wearing, J. R., & Campos, B. (2011) Culture and the health benefits of expressive writing. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 408–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kross, E., & Ayduk, O. (2008). Facilitating adaptive emotional analysis: Distinguishing distanced-analysis of depressive experiences from immersed-analysis and distraction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 924–938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kross, E., & Ayduk, O. (2011). Making meaning out of negative experiences by self-distancing. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 187–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kross, E., Ayduk, O., & Mischel, W. (2005). When asking “why” does not hurt: Distinguishing rumination from reflective processing of negative emotions. Psychological Science, 16, 709–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kross, E., & Grossmann, I. (2012). Boosting wisdom: Distance from the self enhances wise reasoning, attitudes, and behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141, 43–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lu, L., Gilmour, R., Kao, S. F., Weng, T. H., Hu, C. H., Chern, J. G., et al. (2001). Two ways to achieve happiness: When the East meets the West. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 1161–1174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Murray, M. (2009). Health psychology and writing an introduction. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 158–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nicholls, S. (2009). Beyond expressive writing evolving models of developmental creative writing. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nigro, G., & Neisser, U. (1983). Point of view in personal memories. Cognitive Psychology, 15, 467–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Peng, K. P., & Nisbett, R. E. (1999). Culture, dialectics, and reasoning about contradiction. American Psychologist, 54, 741–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8, 162–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pennebaker, J. W., & Beall, S. K. (1986). Confronting a traumatic event: Toward an understanding of inhibition and disease. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 274–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pennebaker, J. W., Chung, C. K., Ireland, M., Gonzales, A., & Booth, R. J. (2007). The development and psychometric properties of LIWC2007: Scholar
  33. Pennebaker, J. W., & Graybeal, A. (2001). Patterns of natural language use: Disclosure, personality, and social integration. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 90–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pennebaker, J. W., Kiecoltglaser, J. K., & Glaser, R. (1988). Disclosure of traumas and immune function: Health implications for psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 239–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pennebaker, J. W., & Seagal, J. D. (1999). Forming a story: The health benefits of narrative. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 1243–1254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Robinson, J. A., & Swanson, K. L. (1993). Field and observer modes of remembering. Memory, 1, 169–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rude, S. S., Gortner, E. M., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2004). Language use of depressed and depression-vulnerable college students. Cognition and Emotion, 18, 1121–1133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Seih, Y. T., Lin, Y. C., Huang, C. L., Peng, C. W., & Huang, S. P. (2008). The benefits of psychological displacement in diary writing when using different pronouns. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13, 39–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shek, D. T. L. (1988). Reliability and factorial structure of the Chinese version of the state-trait anxiety inventory. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 10, 303–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Smyth, J. M. (1998). Written emotional expression: Effect sizes, outcome types and moderating variables. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66, 174–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Smyth, J. M., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2008). Exploring the boundary conditions of expressive writing: In search of the right recipe. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13, 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Spencer-Rodgers, J., Williams, M. J., & Peng, K. P. (2010). Cultural differences in expectations of change and tolerance for contradiction: A decade of empirical research. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14, 296–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. C., & Lushene, R. E. (1970). Manual for the state trait anxiety inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  45. Stirman, S. W., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2001). Word use in the poetry of suicidal and nonsuicidal poets. Psychosomatic Medicine, 63, 517–522.Google Scholar
  46. Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2010). Construal-level theory of psychological distance. Psychological Review, 117(2), 440–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wayment, H. A., & Bauer, J. J. (Eds.). (2008). Transcending self-interest. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  48. Wu, C. H., & Yao, G. (2006). Analysis of factorial invariance across gender in the Taiwan version of the satisfaction with life scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 1259–1268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Humanities and Social ScienceNational Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyDa’an, TaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations