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Expressing feelings after trauma not necessary, research shows
Date:6/2/2008

iation of resources away from individuals who are truly at risk, she said. It also may interfere with the natural coping processes that take place when individuals seek support and advice from family and close friends.

"This study also shows how dangerous it can be to rely on hunches and common sense when attempting to provide intervention after a trauma experienced by a large group of people, such as the 9/11 attacks, but it can also be applied to situations like school shootings," she said.

Researchers analyzed data from a Web-based survey sent to 36,000 participants who received e-mails with an open-ended prompt asking them to share their thoughts about the events of Sept. 11. Nearly 14,000 people responded, and researchers followed a number of these individuals as well as some of those who chose not to respond in the years following the attacks. They collected information about physician-diagnosed physical and mental health ailments over two years.

The researchers caution that the higher rates of illness among those who did respond should not be interpreted to mean that expressing thoughts and feelings is harmful. People who want to talk should still do so, but they say it is important to remember that not everyone copes in the same way, and in the immediate aftermath of a collective trauma it is perfectly healthy not to want to express thoughts and feelings.


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Contact: Laura Rico
lrico@uci.edu
949-824-9055
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

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