Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Nina Brown

Committee Member

John Nunnery

Committee Member

Alan Schwitzer

Committee Member

Theodore P. Remley, Jr.


The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of a short-term expressive writing intervention using a value-laden topic and neutral topic on the physical and psychological well-being of a group of Orthodox Jewish wives preparing for a religious observance. Participants (N = 42) were assigned to the experimental group (n = 22) and to the control group (n = 20) on a rotating basis, in the order of which they first logged into the survey website. The physical well-being of participants was measured by reduced scores on the PILL for physical symptoms associated with stress. Psychological well-being was measured by using the subscale scores on the MAACL-R for anxiety, hostility, and depression. Results from the data collection were analyzed using a Multivariate Analysis of Variance for within group differences on the measures and a Multivariate Analysis of Covariance for the between group differences on the measures with pretest scores used as the covariate.

Results indicated no within group differences pre- and post-test on the subscales of the MAACL-R with the exception of the PILL. A statistically significant main effect for the pretest scores and the post-test scores suggests that the participants may have had a reduction in physical symptoms regardless of the writing prompt they received. The multivariate tests indicated two main effects for covariates but no main effect for group membership. Follow-up analysis comparing the post-test scores on the PILL indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between the scores reported by the experimental and control groups. This difference indicated that the control group reported fewer physical symptoms of stress following the writing intervention. Additionally, the main effect for the Pretest and post-test responses on the dependent measures indicated that a change in responses did occur following the writing intervention.

Discussion of the results and how they relate to the literature are included. Implications of the investigation and recommendations for future research are also included.