This dissertation uses the theoretical perspective that both emotion and emotional processing theories could greatly enhance feedback messages given in a linguistic writing paradigm. The measurement of emotional expression is briefly reviewed along with the basic expressive writing paradigm, outcome of this expressive writing paradigm, and the tailoring literature. Reference is made to the single study (Owen, et al., 2011), which has utilized tailoring in an expressive writing paradigm; the present study is a modification of this original study. This dissertation used clinically minded feedback which utilized both emotion and emotional processing theory. For the experimental design, three tailoring conditions (linguistic tailoring based on word count [LIWC], tailoring based on selfreport measures [BEQ, CECS], and tailoring from a trained therapist) along with two control groups (standard expressive writing experimental and standard expressive writing control) were used. Specific health and mental health outcomes were examined after one month including healthcare utilization (# of visits to a healthcare provider), physical symptoms (PILL), emotional distress (OQ-45), and PTSD symptoms (PCL). A total of 26 participants completed the study, Repeated measures ANOVAs found no significant differences between conditions on emotional expression or decreases in physical and mental health. The nonsignificant findings are likely due to low sample sizes and insufficient power for that statistical analyses. The findings highlight the inconsistent findings in the literature surrounding expressive writing studies and outline the importance of adequate sample sizes, experimental design to reduce fraudulent users, and future directions including other measures of expression to include depth of processing.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Owen, Jason E.

Second Advisor

Bantum, Erin O'Carroll

Third Advisor

Boyd, Kendal C.

Fourth Advisor

Vermeersch, David A.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2013

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Emotions; Emotions (Psychology);

Subject - Local

Emotional Expression; Emotion Theory; Emotional Processing Theory; Model of Emotional Expressivity; Linguistic Tailoring



Page Count

176 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives