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Blogging is more than a pastime, it may be a treatment. Blogging seems to have therapeutic benefits for teens suffering from social anxiety by helping them relate better to their friends.
As the the study’s lead author, Mayran Boniel-Nissim, PhD, of the University of Haifa, Israel, puts it,
“Research has shown that writing a personal diary and other forms of expressive writing are a great way to release emotional distress and just feel better. Teens are online anyway, so blogging enables free expression and east communication with others.”
Blogging had a strong positive effect on troubled students’ well-being, more so than simply expressing their social anxieties and concerns in a private written diary. Opening an online blog to public commentary intensified the therapeutic effect.
“Although cyber-bullying and online abuse are extensive and broad, we noted that almost all responses to our participants’ blog messages were supportive and positive in nature,” said Azy Barak, PhD, co-author of the study. “We weren’t surprised, as we frequently see positive social expressions online in terms of generosity, support and advice.”
The study is based on random surveys of high school students in Israel who had agreed to respond to questionnaires. The questionnaires revealed 161 students with depressive symptoms who were then invited to participate in the study. Their average age was 15. They were divided into four groups who were asked to write about different topics on their blogs or in diaries. Some were open to public comments and some were not.
Self-esteem, social anxiety, emotional distress and the number of positive social behaviors improved for the bloggers when compared to the teens who did nothing and those who kept diaries. The bloggers who wrote specifically about their problems showed the greatest improvement.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, American Psychological Association
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