Online positive affect journaling in the improvement of mental distress and well-being in general medical patients with elevated anxiety symptoms: A preliminary randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background: Positive affect journaling (PAJ), an emotion-focused self-regulation intervention, has been associated with positive outcomes among medical populations. It may be adapted for Web-based dissemination to address a need for scalable, evidence-based psychosocial interventions among distressed patients with medical conditions. Objective: This study aimed to examine the impact of a 12-week Web-based PAJ intervention on psychological distress and quality of life in general medical patients. Methods: A total of 70 adults with various medical conditions and elevated anxiety symptoms were recruited from local clinics and randomly assigned to a Web-based PAJ intervention (n=35) or usual care (n=35). The intervention group completed 15-min Web-based PAJ sessions on 3 days each week for 12 weeks. At baseline and the end of months 1 through 3, surveys of psychological, interpersonal, and physical well-being were completed. Results: Patients evidenced moderate sustained adherence to Web-based intervention. PAJ was associated with decreased mental distress and increased well-being relative to baseline. PAJ was also associated with less depressive symptoms and anxiety after 1 month and greater resilience after the first and second month, relative to usual care. Conclusions: Web-based PAJ may serve as an effective intervention for mitigating mental distress, increasing well-being, and enhancing physical functioning among medical populations. PAJ may be integrated into routine medical care to improve quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere11290
JournalJMIR Mental Health
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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