The Effects of Expressive Writing Workshops on Sexual Assault Survivors’ Sense of Empowerment and Connectedness
McCarthy, Claire M.
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This proposed study employs Pennebaker’s expressive writing paradigm (Stickney, 2010) to examine how journaling about sexual assault(s), exploring multiple points of view in writing, and sharing experiences with other survivors can lead to recovery through empowerment and connectedness. Four hundred men and women will be recruited to participate in either delayed, controlled, or experimental writing workshops to test the potential benefits of disclosing insightful information about their traumatic experience as opposed to disclosing neutral information about themselves. It is hypothesized that the results of this study will suggest that expressive writing workshops are effective tools to empower and connect survivors of sexual assault. The greatest benefits of expressive writing in the workshop setting will be observed among individuals whose tasks are to write about and discuss their experiences with sexual assault(s) and to explore their feelings during and after the event.