Symptoms of Postpartum PTSD and Expressive Writing: A Prospective Study
Publication Date:October 2009
Research studies on post-partum PTSD have highlighted that the experience of childbirth can be traumatic in itself because it often involves fear, pain, impotence and non-expressed negative emotions. This study hypothesized that mental processing post-partum emotions, through Pennekaber?s expressive writing (EW) method, can reduce short- and long-term posttraumatic symptoms. The sample was of 242 women (mean age=31.5; SD=4) of whom 120 performed the EW-task and 122 were not asked to write. The Perinatal PTSD Questionnaire (PPQ) was administered 48 hours and two months after childbirth (the total sample) and 12 months after childbirth (65 women). The data show a positive effect of expressive writing, which allows them to process and mentalize negative emotions, worries and fears, deactivating both avoidance mechanisms and physiological symptoms linked to hyperarousal.
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