Expressive Writing for Resilience in Adult Pediatric Oncology Survivors and Their Caregivers (2018-2019)

Even when childhood cancer is successfully treated, psychological effects can endure for decades. Parents and caregivers also report significant emotional distress.

Expressive writing offers a low-cost therapeutic intervention for former patients and caregivers. Guided by prompts, participants write about a traumatic or stressful event. Sustained expressive writing promotes healing from emotional upheavals, while helping resolve current challenges, cultivate resilience, and improve overall health and well-being.

This project team set out to determine whether a pilot expressive writing intervention can increase resilience for adult survivors of childhood cancer and their caregivers. Along the way, all students became certified as expressive writing instructors and completed portfolios documenting their work. Following completion of the study and data analysis, team leaders plan to expand the scope of the research into the Durham community.

Timing

Fall 2018 – Fall 2019

Team Outputs

Expressive Writing for Resilience: Writing to Heal (poster by Jill Jones, Dahlia Chacon, Arthi Kozhumam, Nicoly Santos, Jai Eun Huh, Katie Xu, Anna Savelyeva, Lucy Zheng, John Evans, Oliver Glass, Ray Barfield, Elizabeth Matteson Bechard, presented at Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 17, 2019)

Oliver Glass, Mark Dreusicke, John Evans, Elizabeth Bechard, Ruth Q. Wolever. 2019. “Expressive writing to improve resilience to trauma: A clinical feasibility trial.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 34:240-246

Videos

Expressive Writing for Resilience: Writing to Heal

Expressive Writing for Resilience in Adult Pediatric Oncology Survivors and Their Caregivers

Reflection

Sydney Grob

This Team in the News

Meet the Members of the 2019-2020 Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

“The B-Word”: Changing a Culture of Burnout Shame

Four Duke Juniors Named Goldwater Scholars

Class of 2019: Biology Student Learns the Value of Expressive Writing in Healing

Bass Connections: Expressive Writing as Therapy for Pediatric Cancer Survivors

New Blogger: Victoria Priester Loves Animals and Books

Meet the Members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council

fountain pen and paper

Team Leaders

  • Raymond Barfield, School of Medicine-Pediatrics
  • John Evans, Wellness & Writing Connections
  • Oliver Glass, School of Medicine-Medicine: General Internal Medicine

/graduate Team Members

  • Eunji Cho, Nursing-PHD
  • Yufen Lin, Nursing-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Dorothy Adu-Amankwah, English (AB)
  • Grace Cai, Psychology (AB), Global Health (AB2)
  • Dahlia Chacon, English (AB)
  • Thea Dowrich, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Lydia Goff, English (AB), Biology (BS2)
  • Sydney Grob, Biology (BS)
  • Charles Huang, Biology (BS)
  • Jai Eun Huh, Biology (BS), Computer Science (AB2)
  • Jill Jones, Neuroscience (BS), Linguistics (AB2)
  • Arthi Kozhumam, Biology (BS), Global Health (AB2)
  • Sydny Long, Psychology (BS)
  • Lindsay Maggioncalda, Computer Science (BS), Cultural Anthropology (AB2)
  • Caitlyn Martinez, Biology (BS)
  • Teresa Meng, Biology (BS)
  • Victoria Priester, Biology (BS), English (AB2)
  • Holly Ren, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Nicoly Santos, Psychology (AB)
  • Sabina Savelyeva, Biology (BS)
  • Dorothy Smith, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Ayesha Syed, Biology (BS)
  • Katie Xu, Cultural Anthropology (AB)
  • Megan Zhao, Biology (BS), Russian (AB2)
  • Lucy Zheng, Biology (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Elizabeth Matteson Bechard, Duke Center for Integrative Medicine