Presentation Title

Varying benefits of expressive writing in Latinx and Asian college students

Faculty Mentor

Belinda Campos, Ph.D

Start Date

17-11-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 5:00 PM

Location

CREVELING 53

Session

POSTER 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Previous literature has indicated a benefit from expressive writing within a European-American sample. However, these findings cannot be considered applicable to minority populations who have share different cultural values and views. The present research examined the benefits of expressive writing within an Asian and Latinx student sample, while exploring the differences in cultural values documented in previous literature. Overall, we hypothesized that Latinx and Asian trauma groups would display a decrease in physical symptoms after expressive writing tasks. We hypothesized that although both cultures may not emphasize negative emotions, this technique could serve as a tool of coping with past traumatic experiences. Latinx (n=77), Asian (n = 47) and European American (n=53) students were randomly instructed to write about either a traumatic experience or a trivial topic for four consecutive days. Participants also filled out demographic information and a physical health self-report measure before and after the four consecutive days of writing. Comparison tests were used to analyze physical benefits after expressive writing tasks. Results partially supported the hypotheses and indicated that Latinx student significantly benefited from expressive writing tasks in both conditions, whereas Asian students did not significantly benefit at all (p < .05). These results could be understood in terms of cultural values at play within these growing minority populations in the U.S.

Summary of research results to be presented

The purpose of the present research was to investigate the benefits of expressive writing within Latinx and Asian individuals, while accounting for cultural factors and values. The results suggest that Latinx individuals may be benefiting from expressive writing tasks in both conditions (p = 0.11, p = 0.27). Although these individual show a significant benefits in negative physical symptoms, we can see in Table 1 that there was a smaller benefit in the trauma writing group. We could understand this difference through convivial collectivism and its large emphasis on avoiding negative emotional interaction. However, with Latinx culture also having frequent emotional interaction, this could serve as an explanation for benefit in both writing groups as a whole. On the other hand, we saw that both Asian student writing groups did not significantly benefit in physical symptoms but the trauma condition benefited the least of all writing groups in this analysis. These results were unexpected and perhaps explained by the phenomenon of harmony collectivism, where negative interactions and emotions are not primary concerns within East Asian culture (Campos & Kim, 2017). Expressive writing tasks about a negative experience could in fact, cause negative emotions to arise as well and could potentially make an individual belonging to Asian culture, feel uncomfortable or physically worse about themselves or their experiences.

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Nov 17th, 3:00 PM Nov 17th, 5:00 PM

Varying benefits of expressive writing in Latinx and Asian college students

CREVELING 53

Previous literature has indicated a benefit from expressive writing within a European-American sample. However, these findings cannot be considered applicable to minority populations who have share different cultural values and views. The present research examined the benefits of expressive writing within an Asian and Latinx student sample, while exploring the differences in cultural values documented in previous literature. Overall, we hypothesized that Latinx and Asian trauma groups would display a decrease in physical symptoms after expressive writing tasks. We hypothesized that although both cultures may not emphasize negative emotions, this technique could serve as a tool of coping with past traumatic experiences. Latinx (n=77), Asian (n = 47) and European American (n=53) students were randomly instructed to write about either a traumatic experience or a trivial topic for four consecutive days. Participants also filled out demographic information and a physical health self-report measure before and after the four consecutive days of writing. Comparison tests were used to analyze physical benefits after expressive writing tasks. Results partially supported the hypotheses and indicated that Latinx student significantly benefited from expressive writing tasks in both conditions, whereas Asian students did not significantly benefit at all (p < .05). These results could be understood in terms of cultural values at play within these growing minority populations in the U.S.