Over the recent years, with the boom in texting and online social networks, teenagers have been developing new ways of dealing with their emotional problems. A new study has shown that there is a therapeutic value in blogging. While many people see writing as a form of therapy, the study highlighted the issue faced by teens.
In “The Therapeutic Value of Adolescents’ Blogging about Social-Emotional Difficulties” published in Psychological Services, Meyran Boniel-Nissim and Azy Barak found that the engagement in an online community, thanks to a blog format, proved an effective way of relieving the writer’s social distress.
The study tracked 161 teenagers, 124 girls and 37 boys, in Haifa, Israel, who were selected randomly. The teenagers, averaging 15-years of age, said that they had difficulty making new friends or relating to their existing friends. The teens were divided into six groups. The first two blogged about their social difficulties, with one group opening their posts to comments. The second two groups blogged about anything they wanted. Once again, one group would allow comments. All four groups had to write a post twice a week. The last two groups were kept as control and were told to keep a print diary or do nothing at all.
All of the blog posts were examined by four psychologists to determine the emotional and relative social state of the authors. They noticed an improvement in all groups, but the greatest improvement in mood occurred among the teens that wrote about their problems and allowed commentators to respond.
The commentators were supportive, which surprised Barak. Can this also be applied to micro-blogging platforms like Twitter and Facebook? More information is needed to draw conclusions with different technology platforms.
Reference: ” The therapeutic value of adolescents’ blogging about social–emotional difficulties” by Meyran Boniel-Nissim and Azy Barak, 2013, Psychological Services.