Emotional Disclosure Through Journal Writing: Telehealth Intervention for Maternal Stress and Mother–Child Relationships

Abstract

This study examines emotional disclosure through the activity of journaling as a means of coping with maternal stress associated with parenting a child with disruptive behaviors. Through a randomized control and pre-test post-test study design of an online journal writing intervention, change to maternal stress and quality of mother–child relationship for children with ASD, ADHD and SPD was addressed. Behavioral symptoms were found to be the primary source of parenting stress for mothers and a significant relationship between child characteristics and maternal stress was identified. Emotional disclosure through the online journal writing program (especially in the presence of high disclosure of negative emotions) was shown to reduce maternal stress and improve the quality of mother–child relationship. These findings suggest cost-effective telehealth interventions may support maternal health. Important clinical implications are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded in part from support from the California Occupational Therapy Foundation.

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Correspondence to Rondalyn V. Whitney.

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Whitney, R.V., Smith, G. Emotional Disclosure Through Journal Writing: Telehealth Intervention for Maternal Stress and Mother–Child Relationships. J Autism Dev Disord 45, 3735–3745 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2332-2

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • ADHD
  • Maternal stress
  • Sensory processing
  • Quality of mother–child relationship
  • Family quality of life
  • Telehealth