skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 220578 Find in a Library
Title: Cognitive and Emotional Processing in Narratives of Women Abused by Intimate Partners
Journal: Violence Against Women  Volume:13  Issue:11  Dated:November 2007  Pages:1192-1205
Author(s): Danielle Holmes; George W. Alpers; Tasneem Ismailji; Catherine Classen; Talor Wales; Valerie Cheasty; Andrew Miller; Cheryl Koopman
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study of 25 survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) focused on links between their cognitive and emotional processing of their experiences with changes in their pain and depression.
Abstract: This study indicates that specific linguistic indicators of emotional processing, as expressed in written trauma narratives, were associated with reduced bodily pain symptoms for women with a history of IPV. Although the expressive writing intervention did not result in women reporting an overall reduction in pain, the women who reported reductions in their pain could be identified from their writing. This suggests that an excessive expression of negative emotions in written trauma narratives may have negative consequences for an IPV survivor's physical health. Women who used higher mean levels of words that expressed positive emotions across their four writing sessions also tended to report increased bodily symptoms. A tentative explanation is that women who use high levels of positive emotions in their writing may be failing to confront their traumatic experiences, which contributes to stress-related health problems. Despite the lack of statistically significant findings in examining linguistic indications of changes in depression, two non-statistically significant trends suggest directions for future research: a greater number of positive-emotion words was associated with increased depression, and writing that makes causal connections is more likely to reflect decreased depressive symptoms. The women each met with a research assistant once a week for 5 weeks. They wrote alone in a quiet room. During each of the four weekly sessions, the women were asked to complete a written narrative about the most traumatic, stressful events of their lives. They were instructed to write expressively and emotionally in exploring their deepest emotions and feelings. The women completed instruments that measured demographics, depressive symptoms, and bodily pain. 38 references
Main Term(s): Victims of violent crime
Index Term(s): Coping; Domestic assault; Mental disorders; Mental health services; Psychological victimization effects; Victim services
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.