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A school-based expressive writing intervention for at-risk urban adolescents' aggressive behavior and emotional lability.

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      Abstract

      This school-based randomized controlled trial tested the efficacy of 2 expressive writing interventions among youth living in high-violence urban neighborhoods. Seventeen classrooms (n = 258 seventh graders; 55% female; 91% African American/Black) from 3 public schools were randomized to 3 conditions in which they wrote 8 times about a nonemotional topic (control condition) or about experiencing and witnessing violence following either a standard or an enhanced expressive writing protocol. Outcomes were assessed 1 month prior and 2 and 6 months postintervention and included teacher-rated emotional lability and aggressive behavior and child-rated physical aggression. Intent-to-treat, mixed-model analyses controlled for preintervention measures of outcomes, sex, race, and family structure. At 2 months postintervention, relative to controls, students in the standard expressive writing condition had lower levels of teacher-rated aggression and lability (d = -.48). The beneficial effects of the writing interventions on aggression and lability were stronger at higher levels of community violence exposure.

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      Author and article information

      Affiliations
      [1 ] Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284-2018, USA. wkliewer@vcu.edu
      Journal
      J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol
      Journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology : the official journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53
      Informa UK Limited
      1537-4424
      1537-4416
      2011
      : 40
      : 5
      21916688
      10.1080/15374416.2011.597092

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